It may turn heads and pique curiosity for passers-by, but most Jackson-area residents know the Washington Monument replica on Interstate 55 in Ridgeland is simply a disguise for a cell phone tower.
But when the split-diamond Madison Avenue interchange is complete in 2014, the monument will take on a new identity – it will become part of the entrance to Colony Park, a mixed-use development along Highland Colony Parkway.
“We want it to become more visible and part of the entrance,” said H.C. “Buster” Bailey, president of the H.C. Bailey Companies, which is the developer of Colony Park and owns the monument.
“We want to put an entrance sign there, and we want to landscape it and put flags around it. It’s going to be a landmark, for sure.”
Bailey said he hopes it will be a place passers-by can visit and take photos.
“We looked at making it a gathering place, but I’m not sure we can do that because it’s so close to the interstate and will be really noisy,” he said.
The 147,000-pound, 190-foot-tall monument was moved about 450 feet in 2009 to make room for the new interchange. “When we moved it, we also turned it at an angle so it would face the interchange,” said Bailey.
The tower is made of 4-foot by 8-foot fiberglass panels that are radio wave transparent. The panels have slightly different shades of gray, giving the monument a stone appearance.
C Spire Wireless, Verizon and AT&T have cell phone antennas inside the monument. “And we have room for more antennas,” said Bailey.