Unlike the controversy in Santa, area residents generally support the construction of another cell tower in the St. Maries area.
They don’t, however, think Central Park would be the best location.
The Gazette Record previously reported that Verizon Wireless offered some suggestions of a possible location for the tower. One of the locations mentioned was near the BMX and skate area in Central Park.
The reason for the possibility of a new tower being erected in the city is due to residents by the St. Maries High School saying that they don’t receive good cell service.
This reporter spoke with area residents to see what they think of choosing the area as a possible site for a new cell tower.
St. Maries resident, Elaine Krupp, said that she thinks an area so close to the park is no place for a cell tower. She is, however, not against there being a new cell tower in city limits.
“I think the park should be left to the kids,” Ms. Krupp said. “I’m more against it being in an area like that, I think that they could find a better place.”
Resident Barbara Rhodes said that she isn’t against the location and that the extra cell coverage is needed for residents that live either by the high school or just up the St. Joe River Road.
“I think a cell tower is necessary,” Ms. Rhodes said. “It would benefit the people who live up river and just outside of town.”
She said her concern would be those who would want to break into or mess with the tower.
“They would just have to make sure that no vandals could do anything to it,” Ms. Rhodes said.
Kathy Sheldon said that cell towers are necessary.
“I believe we need more cell coverage and we need another tower,” Ms. Sheldon said. “At times we have bad cell coverage.”
She said that she does have an issue with the one proposed location by the BMX park as there are times when there are a lot of children and adults who use the area.
“I don’t think it is a good area, because there is too much activity down there sometimes,” Ms. Sheldon said. “Finding a different location would be better.”
Local resident Olivia Raccaro said that the area is not a good choice and that it would take away from an area that is primarily designated towards children.
“I think that is a bad place to put a tower, I don’t understand why that is a possible option,” Ms. Raccaro said. “There are plenty of other places where there are not as many kids around.”
Area resident, Jo Satterlee, said that she thinks that companies like Verizon should focus more on the customers who live out in dead zones instead of focusing where there is already decent coverage.
“I think they should leave our park alone,” Ms. Satterlee said. “They need more service out in places like the Benewah Road. There is a major dead zone out there and lots of residents who need coverage.”
“If they do put one in town it needs to go somewhere else,” Ms. Satterlee said.
Another Benewah County resident, Jim Minser, also weighed in that cell companies need to focus more on providing coverage to rural areas. He said that coverage is desperately needed out by areas like Emida.
“I work for the fire department in Emida and if something goes wrong you are out of luck if there is no coverage,” Mr. Minser said.
“We desperately need better communication out in the rural parts more,” Mr. Minser said.
So far there are no other updates on Verizon’s plans for a cell tower location in St. Maries.