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Verizon Wants To Place Cell Phone Tower In Mitchell

Last updated on Thursday, October 10, 2013

(MITCHELL) - Verizon Wireless wants to erect a cell phone tower in Mitchell’s downtown area, but before allowing it, officials want residents to voice their opinions.

To leave a comment about the proposed cell phone tower, call the mayor's office at 849-5161.

Steve Qualley of Bloomington, who works as a site selector for Verizon, asked the plan commission that the current cell phone tower on the west side of Ind. 37 that provides service to the Mitchell area. But Verizon wants to add a second tower to increase capacity.

Qualley has proposed several sites from Eighth and Warren streets east to the Mitchell Police Department and south to the area of City Hall on Sixth Street. Verizon chose the city-owned land at Seventh Street and Mississippi Avenue. The area is used for the Mitchell Farmers' Market in the summer months and houses carnival rides during the Persimmon Festival.

If the city agrees to the deal, the company would need a 70-foot by 70-foot area, which would consume all of the grass area, but not stretch to the asphalt. The area would be fenced off with an 8-foot chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. Inside the fenced area, there would be a pre-fabricated building to house radio equipment and a back-up generator and a 165-foot tall tower with antennas.

Since the property is owned by the city, Verizon would enter into a 30-year lease with the city that would pay $900 a month. Every five years, the payment would increase 10 percent. Verizon would pay for the electricity and telephone fees associated with the tower.

Easement would also need to be granted on the east side of the fence with yellow lines painted on the asphalt to allow trucks in and out of the fenced-in area.

But officials had concerns about health effects of the radio waves emitted to the area, the disruption to the farmers' market and not having the area for the festival and the appearance of a tower in the downtown area.

The board agreed to wait to make a decision on the matter until its next meeting at 4 p.m. on Oct. 22. If the board approves the tower construction would begin in 2015.

1340 AM WBIW welcomes comments and suggestions by calling 812.277.1340 during normal business hours or by email at comments@wbiw.com

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