Department of Homeland Security Radar Put on Indefinite Hold
The negative public reaction to the proposed radar to be placed at the top of a 60-foot tower on the grounds of the Little Club led to the decision by the Department of Homeland Security to put it on hold indefinitely.
A 60-foot tower on the grounds of the Grosse Pointe Club will only be topped with high-powered surveillance cameras as the proposed radar has been indefinitely put on hold, Border Patrol Special Agent Gregory Lambert said.
The tower was built in June after the Department of Homeland Security received approval from Grosse Pointe Farms city council. The council approved the tower and the installation of the cameras. During that meeting, Lambert also said the intent was to install a radar on the tower as a better means to monitor Lake St. Clair for potential people entering the country illegally.
Lambert said Thursday the radar has been put on hold indefiniately due to the negative public reaction. He had been planning to hold a town hall meeting with all residents that live within half a mile of the tower but that has since been nixed, he said.
The hold is indefinite but is only a hold. Lambert said eventually the radar may be reintroduced but with a much heavier emphasis on public awareness and campaigning well in advance of the application being submitted.
The decision pleases Joseph D. Greiner, 79, a Rose Terrace resident who had serious concerns about the potential health risks such a radar would have posed. Greiner taught radar in the U.S. Army and was an MIT student.
"If what I heard Mr. Lambert say...is true then, I am relieved that the Homeland Security has decided not to install a 250,000 watt radar in a densely populated residential area," Greiner said via email.
Mayor James Farquhar is also glad they've put it on hold. Farquhar believes it isn't a good location for such a high wattage radar because it's mainly residential, he said.
"I just don't think it's the right place," he said.
He isn't opposed to monitoring the lake and the border, he said, explaining his biggest problem was with the way the radar was introduced, or rather not introduced. He would have preferred that the application for the tower included the radar as one of its potential uses instead of simply saying it would hold cameras only.
The tower is awaiting the cameras, which will be installed soon, Lambert said. For now, the installation of the cameras will complete the project, he said.