Negotiations between AT&T and the Village of South Jacksonville remain open as to the placement of a cellphone tower in the village.
Trustee Todd Warrick says that AT&T is offering to build a tower on the village’s property and possibly cede the deed to the tower to the village. The village could then rent out the tower to AT&T or other cellphone competitors as they desire.
Warrick said Thursday night the tower would either be a lattice/self-support tower or a monopole tower. The tower would be between 100-200 feet tall. AT&T engineers presented two options on the placement of the tower. The first option would be at the southwest corner of 1810 Sequoia Drive, allowing 400 feet of clearance from the South Jacksonville Police Department’s existing communications tower. Village President Dick Samples said that the engineers reported interference problems with a previous tower placed near emergency services communication towers and that placing the tower near the police station would create some problems.
The second proposed site would be at the corner on West Greenwood Avenue and South Diamond Street at the southeast edge of the Prairieland Heritage Museum’s grounds. Warrick says that to go with the second option, the village board would have to seek approval from Prairieland’s board for the placement of the tower.
The general consensus of the Trustees on Thursday night during the Committee of the Whole session appeared that the option 1 location with a lattice tower was the preferred measure.
The tower would fix the giant dead zone of coverage that exists in the heart of South Jacksonville. Village President Dick Samples says something needs to be done and done correctly: “The consensus on the project has always been the same. We want to the best for the residents of South Jacksonville, because our service absolutely sucks. It’s bad. We want to do something to improve that service, but we don’t want to hurt ourselves in the process. Where AT&T wanted to put that tower originally was right in the middle of the vacant property that the village owns on the south side of the Police Department. If you do that, you’ve absolutely limited what you could ever do with that property again. Now, if you put it down in one corner, it’s not near as bad as being right in the middle. There’s no intentions with the property. There’s nothing upcoming with the use of that property…but why cut our nose off to spite our face on this thing and set up something that’s going to affect us 20 years from now because there is a tower possibly in the way?”
Samples says the village doesn’t want to make a hasty decision. He says when the plans do get finalized, he wants to make it work for everyone involved. The Board of Trustees did not present a timeline for an action item on a proposal for setting the tower or coming to an agreement with AT&T, but said more information on a decision would be coming soon.