Giant flagpole boasts day job as well


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The huge Viera flagpole hosts a fixed-position flag and is not designed to be lowered to half-staff. Any work on the flag or the attaching apparatus requires the use of a crane and trained personnel, as in this April 4 photo.

PHOTO BY LINDA WIGGINS

At first glance, it appears the Brevard County School District headquarters or the adjacent Viera High School have a heck of a patriotic streak. And while that may be true, the giant flagpole that appears to be on their property does not belong to either of them.

At 180 feet in height, the huge-circumference flagpole on Judge Fran Jamieson Way and Stadium Parkway measures 18 stories with the traditional 10-feet-per-story measure. It soars far above the community’s five-storied Health First Viera Hospital to the south, even with more feet per story and beacon tower at top.

What is the story behind this behemoth of American pride? A dual purpose.

It actually is a cell phone tower with a pretty face.

The construction of the pole was a joint venture project between the The Viera Company and Brighthouse Networks, according to Viera director of community management Eva M. Rey. It is the only cell tower within the boundaries of the Viera DRI (Development of Regional Impact) with which The Viera Comany has involvement.

Brighthouse, headquartered to the north on Breslay Drive, manages the leasing of space and capacity to cellphone providers.

“The Viera flagpole is indeed a dual purpose structure,” Rey said. “Since it is also a cell tower, the flagpole is a vital source of cellular signal within Viera. Anyone who uses a cell phone can appreciate the value of a strong signal as they go about their busy day. Furthermore, the central location of the pole provides the greatest benefit to Viera businesses, residents and visitors to our community.”

While the utility was a necessary factor for the growing community, aesthetics were a high priority over the traditional look of a steel tower. A number of other disguises were considered, including a tree.

Ultimately, the design choice went to something not only decorative and with a secondary function, but something that reflected one of the core community values based on those held by the founding Duda family: patriotism.

“A cell tower that is also a pole for the American flag holds much more meaning and is a source of great pride for everyone in our community,” Rey said. “This flag has become a cherished centerpiece in Viera and makes a clear statement about our values and the love we have for our country.”