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It’s been a long time coming, but one of Fayetteville’s more unusual landmarks will soon get a long overdue paint job. Call it a work of art. Call it a wireless cell tower because that’s what it is. What’s become known as the Sprint Voyager has been neglected for 14 years… not intentionally, but because of unforeseen changes in the communications industry. Sandy DeSosta, director of marketing and communications for Crown Castle of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, tells Up & Coming Weekly, “We have been in touch with code enforcement of Fayetteville with regard to the tower… and will move forward with painting the tower.”  

People new to the area have likely wondered about the unique aeronautical-looking structure that sits upon what used to be a colorful pole near the Rowan Street bridge near downtown. Art intersected with functionality when former Fayetteville artist Tom Grubb unveiled his sculpture that aided Sprint in achieving stronger wireless signals throughout the community. Grubb says he will happily assist in painting the Voyager. 

“The Fayetteville community holds many special memories for me,” said Grubb.

As for the City of Fayetteville, former City Manager Roger Stancil says, “It was the first tower with public art required as a condition” of its construction. “What Sprint is doing really is spectacular,” said Stancil at the unveiling in October, 2002. He was instrumental in bringing about this marriage of form and function. 

“We are delighted to be able to support the launch of the Voyager project,” said Jim Greene, director of site acquisition, Southeast Region for the PCS Division of Sprint. 

Grubb was director of the now defunct Fayetteville Museum of Art when the work was commissioned and said his inspiration for the piece was “the dynamic combination of technology and nature.” 

The result was the largest kinetic sculpture ever created in the United States at the time. For its dedication, Grubb himself sky walked to the tip of the 128-foot tower to affix the 1,000-pound sculpture while suspended from a hoisting device.

Why has it taken so long for the Voyager to get some attention? Up & Coming Weekly looked into the history of the tower and found Sprint hasn’t owned it for many years, but its equipment is part of the apparatus. “Sprint’s obligation is to the communications equipment itself… the tower owners are responsible for its maintenance,” said Corporate Communications Spokeswoman Adrienne Norton. 

Sprint sold the tower to Global Signal, Inc., which declared bankruptcy many years ago. That’s when Crown Castle picked it up, and late last month Up & Coming Weekly reached out to the company. In a matter of days, Crown Castle confirmed its obligation and committed to paint the tower. To put the company in perspective, as a result of numerous acquisitions, including that of Global Signal in January 2007, Crown Castle owns more than 40,000 towers in the United States as well as 1,600 sites in Australia. It is the leader in the shared wireless infrastructure industry.

 

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