A request to explore options for a new cell tower in St. Maries from Verizon Wireless was approved at the St. Maries council meeting Monday night, May 11.

Mayor Tom Carver said the company would like to do some initial legwork to see if it would be feasible to place a tower near where the ball fields/ BMX bike track is located. He said customers that live by the St. Maries High School do not receive adequate service. Mayor Carver said Verizon contacted the city to see if the council would be open to them exploring the potential for a tower.

Council members indicated they were open to the idea. Councilman Ed Spooner said it can be frustrating when cell phones don’t work and that he was open to a potential agreement if they found a spot that could work. Steve Dorendorf agreed.

Laci Hanson agreed the service is not always the best. However, she did ask if there would be problems with children messing with the tower if it was placed near the parks.

Mayor Carver said the tower would likely have a fence around it and would need to be secured.

The council voted unanimously to allow Verizon to do some scoping work. The vote does not approve the tower being built, but simply gives the cell company permission to access city property and determine what options might work for them. If they found anything that was feasible the company would then need to pursue the project further including additional approval from council.

In other business, the city did receive a second $500,000 grant from the USDA for their sewer improvement project.

Additionally, the council approved Renaldo Land Surveying’s quote of approximately $4,700 to locate the city’s easement in a vacated alleyway as part of the water/sewer project work along 2nd Street. The alley runs from Pennsylvania to Scott. Property owners will be notified.

City attorney Mariah Dunham said the easement was reserved in 1959 and many property owners did not keep the easement clear for access. Following scope work to locate easement, the city will then determine if any fences, gardens or other encroachments will need to be relocated as part of the project.

Alex Barta, of Timber Plus, talked briefly about grant opportunities the city might consider pursuing for sidewalks and the Cormana Building. Mr. Spooner, who has been a proponent of sidewalks, said he feels that they are important for pedestrian safety. One of the comments Mr. Spooner made was in regards to the project along 2nd Street.

“I have had four people ask me about sidewalks being installed as part of the project and they were upset when they found out there would not be any,” Mr. Spooner said.

Mr. Barta said he would provide additional information to the council but he said there are national grants out there and the city could be available.

In other items, the council approved allowing banners showcasing 2020 seniors to be hung on Main and College. The open house meeting to allow the public to learn about the Railroad Avenue project is tentatively set for June 23. Also, an encroachment license was approved as well.

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