New tower hits areas not previously served

An Inland Cellular tower near Mutch Creek Road is near completion. It may serve as a solution to cellular coverage shortages near the St. Maries high school and up the St. Joe River.

A cell tower near completion in the Mutch Creek area of St. Maries could negate the need for a tower in Central Park.

Inland Cellular has nearly completed a tower at 312 Bennett Lane, St. Maries. The permit for the tower sought permission for a tower up to 199ft at an estimated cost of $85,000.

According to Nathan Weis, president of Inland Cellular, the tower may cover areas near the St. Maries high school and St. Joe river that were recently cited as reason to consider a Verizon cell tower in Central Park.

“Each carrier uses different frequencies but this location, our studies show coverage up the Joe pretty well, and up highway 3, better than the other guys because they are shaded,” Mr. Weis said.

The Inland Cellular tower is built for multiple carriers according to Mr. Weis. However, he said that Verizon may have other motivations for building their own tower especially if they wanted to implement 5G coverage at some point.

The Inland Cellular tower at Mutch Creek is not yet live according to Mr. Weis. He said the tower still needs power and some additional equipment. He also said that coverage will depend on additional towers.

“We have to put another one or two sights in between Pokey Creek and Emida to get constant coverage, Mr. Weis said. “We are looking at the Flat Creek area and then we will have pretty much constant coverage coming north out of Potlatch. We should hopefully be able to talk nonstop from Palouse past Emida.”

Mr. Weis anticipates that Inland Cellular will achieve near constant coverage in the area later this summer. He said that COVID-19 has led to project delays.

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