Public Park to Host Cell Tower?

The park is a great place for a picnic,
but is it the proper place for a cell tower?

There's a proposal to build a cell tower on the grounds of a St. Joseph County park, and the debate has begun.

The proposal calls for a private company to build a 195-foot cell tower on public land at St. Patrick’s County Park.

The plan is now being evaluated by park officials who see one obvious advantage: It would bring revenue into a park system that needs it.

St. Patrick’s Park recently lost the Firefly concert series and the rent revenue that came with it.

According to Parks Director Evie Kirkwood, “it's not looking like there's going to be increases in taxes, or additional support from the county in terms of funding for county parks.
So how do we meet the community's needs?”

Park goer Naomi Degan seemed supportive, saying “I guess I don’t see them as that intrusive. If there’s only one of them, and they didn’t have to cut down any trees.”

St. Joseph County Commissioner Mark Dobson was skeptical, saying “my initial reaction is a bit negative.
I think we sometimes look at our parks and want to get rid of the trappings of our modern society.”

The debate is just getting underway,

The next formal discussion will come before the County Park Board at its’ meeting in January.

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