St. Joseph County Park's New Plans

The idea of putting a cell phone tower in a public park appears to be a popular one.

So popular that two separate companies are now interested in building a tower on land leased from St. Patrick's County Park.

The St. Joseph County Park Board first entertained the idea in December, after it was approached by Horvath Communications.

Since that time, T-Mobile has also come forward with a tower proposal of its own.

“At this time, no decision was made. The proposals are being reviewed and entertained, but there's a lot of work we need to do as to what our legal operations, our requirements are should we want to pursue either of those proposals,” explains Evie Kirkwood with the St. Joseph County Parks.

Both proposals involve towers that would be a minimum of 195 feet tall.

The park's director says much of the public feedback on the tower proposal has been positive.

And, the parks department Tuesday gave the media a peek at its newest acquisition.

The Park Foundation has purchased 104 acres of land adjacent to St. Patrick's County Park, at the northwest corner of Kenilworth and Auten roads.

The land was purchased from the Manion family at a bargain rate.

It will open to the public in 2008 at the earliest.

“Eventually, we hope to have hiking trails, cross country skiing, trails; it's beautiful scenery here in the snow. It's pretty flat there and there are some seasonal wooded wetlands that we might consider enhancing to bring more native plant and animal species,” explained Kirkwood.

With the newly acquired land, St. Patrick's will become the largest park in the county, at 398 acres.

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