The city of Marine on St. Croix took the next step in considering a proposed cell tower after a motion was made to send a compilation of information to the planning commission for study, analysis and public comment later on in the process. A proposal for the project was prepared by the Communications Infrastructure Committee and presented to the council at the January 9 meeting.
Paul Anderson presented the proposal to the board and highlighted a number of topics regarding the implementation of a cell tower in Marine. Among those that took precedence were public safety, commerce and overall quality of life for residents.
Arguably the most important reason for adding the cell tower to Marine is the need for public safety and ability to call for help. This was the first point of the presentation that Anderson emphasized.
“There is a significant public safety issue that has come forward,” he said. ”There are a lot of stories about this where people try to call 911 when there’s been an accident, or a medical emergency and not getting a cell signal, or if they are unable to say where they are, no one can find them... This is why Geo-Location and 911 service is a critical factor.”
Anderson also stated that commerce and community connection would be positively impacted by the cell tower proposal from Marine businesses, telecommuters, government and residents alike, creating economic benefit and more opportunity for area citizens.
Anderson also addressed the proposed location for the cell tower project indicating that a city owned parcel of land near the compost field would likely be the best option.
“Multiple sites were evaluated,” he said. “Ultimately, the analysis and subsequent recommendation took into consideration the impact in the community including environmental and visual impact, as well as sites that were the most viable for the best coverage.” The proposed site, according to the presentation, would have very low visual impact, and would provide the greatest “propagation” or cell coverage.
The presentation also highlighted what the tower would consist of. A 100’ X 100’ fenced in pad would hold a 180 foot monopole. The tower would not need any artificial lighting in the proposed location and any maintenance would be tenant's responsibility. Anderson also stated that the tower would be of no cost to the city and that a 35-year lease term is being negotiated with a possible total revenue of $400,000 to the city.
At the end of the presentation, Anderson stated that the committee recommended sending this proposal to the planning commission for further study. Depending on what the planning commission decides, a joint committee public meeting would take place that would include and in-depth presentation and would be open to community conversation.
After the presentation, councilmember Lon Pardun motioned to send the proposal to the planning commission with a second by Gwen Roden. With a full room of curious Marine residents, Pardun made clear that this project is still in the beginning stages saying, “I believe that this process is very, very slowly getting started, so I believe there will be plenty of time for comment later.”
Councilmember Bill Miller acknowledged the retirement of Deputy Chief Richard Johnson of the Marine Fire Department saying, “We are greatly in his debt for the service he’s given the city of Marine.” Miller also announced that Andy Lapos was recommended to assume the role of Deputy Chief and made a motion to appoint him as Deputy Fire Chief.
Council reviewed four different city logos designed by Studio 2 Designs. Councilmember Charlie Anderson stated that the council should review and decide on two of the four to send back to Studio 2 for further design. The consensus was that a new logo was needed for the community to be used for clothing, trucks, documents and more.