Downtown Akron just got a shorter skyline.

The Huntington Bank building on South Main Street — Akron’s tallest building at 322 feet — got a major haircut Wednesday when a 120-foot-tall radio antenna that for decades sat on top of the roof was removed using a massive crane.

Antenna owner Western Reserve Public Media in Kent said the antenna was no longer being used, was costing the nonprofit organization money and needed to come down.

The antenna had been part of downtown Akron since the 1950s on the former FirstMerit and First National Tower, built in 1931 at 106 S. Main St.

It at one point was used to broadcast radio station WAKR and then WEAO (Channel 49) in the 1970s, the PBS station said.

Canton Erectors Inc. took down the antenna in pieces in a process that took much of the day and involved two employees in safety harnesses climbing to the top of the antenna to attach the crane and do other work.

Prep began Monday with the two-day assembly of the massive crane used. It will take another two days to disassemble the crane and remove it.

“It’s a happy day for us. I hope people share in our joy,” said Trina Cutter, Western Reserve’s president and chief executive officer. “We’re glad to get it done. You don’t want to have a tower if nobody is using it.”

Western Reserve was paying to have the antenna on the roof, Cutter said. Lease payments had gone up dramatically in recent years and then Western Reserve lost a client that had been paying $40,000 annually to use the antenna, she said.

That turned the antenna into a money-loser and the not-for-profit organization began looking into taking the antenna down, Cutter said.

Western Reserve had already built an antenna for its own use in Copley, she said.

The cost to take down the antenna was nearly $100,000, Cutter said. Initial estimates for the project came in at $250,000, she said.

Preparations to remove the antenna began last fall, said Brian Selinsky, president of Canton Erectors. The family-owned company specializes in crane services and moving extremely heavy machinery.

They needed to coordinate the antenna removal with all of the other parties involved in the other downtown renovation projects that includes the complicated rebuilding of Main Street, Selinsky said.

“That was the toughest part,” he said.

The company used a crane capable of lifting 600 tons to do the job.

The antenna didn’t weigh close to that — it's about 8.25 tons. It was cut into two pieces, with the top piece weighing about 6,500 pounds and the second piece about 10,000 pounds.

The crane itself had a “tip height” of 465 feet high to rise above the 120-foot tower on top of the 322-foot building, Selinsky said. Some 15 to 20 people were involved in the process, including safety crews on top of the bank building roof equipped with fire extinguishers to prevent a possible fire caused by cutting up the antenna, he said.

The public was able to watch the work in progress via live webcams mounted on the nearby PNC Bank building by going to Westernreservepublicmedia.org/camera

Jim Mackinnon covers business. He can be reached at 330-996-3544 or jmackinnon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ