I’m not sure how I feel about this…

Veterans Park on the Milwaukee lakefront would sprout a 60-foot cellphone signal tower, under a proposal that would bring more than $500,000 to Milwaukee County over 25 years.

Under a plan by AT&T, the firm would build a restroom shelter in the park, which also would house the cell tower. The tower itself “would be encased in a stealth pole with a nautical mast theme, which would complement this site adjacent to the marina, according to a staff memo to the County Board.

Given the budget difficulties Milwaukee County is experiencing, bringing in an additional $500,000 in revenue certainly is tempting, but given the fact that the money would be paid out over 25 years, the resulting yearly payments to the County of $25,000 hardly seems worth building what could easily end up being an eyesore along Milwaukee’s lakefront.

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12 Responses to AT&T wants to build 60 foot cell phone tower in Milwaukee’s Veterans Park

  1. so what’s the argument for not building it again? sounds good to me.

  2. Steven Reynolds says:

    This sounds a bit NIMBY to me, though not so much as the opposition to a cell phone tower in my own community. I’d argue that cell phones are essential to our culture now, and will become more essential in the future. At least they’re trying to disguise it in Milwaukee. The one on the lakefront in my neighborhood will not be disquised.

  3. Palli says:

    a fake nautical mast sounds like Disneyland to me…stupid artificiality…fake means lie If our culture demands a tower there why disguise it – face it our way of life is more important than a natural landscape, apparently

  4. JCG says:

    I don’t know – we’re very protective of our lakefront in MKE, and it’s had great effect. But at this point we’re constantly surrounded by cell towers that are rarely noticed.

  5. Jason says:

    We would certainly notice this one. It’s a sixty-foot-tall white staff, right there on the lakefront. I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

    That said, I think AT&T would get away with paying a pittance. $500,000 over 25 years is $20,000 per year. While we would love the money, I have concerns over the relatively low amount the County would receive for it. on top of that, what is the value of the tower as compared to its disruption of sight lines and the overall lakefront aesthetic? It’s complicated.

    Another consideration: I have heard from people who frequent the lakefront who want better cell service. I know it’s poor there as it is.

    I’ll try to post a picture of the mockups and plans.

    • Zach W says:

      Thanks for adding your thoughts Jason.

    • John Foust says:

      Jason is correct – comparable tower rentals could be much higher, per month. I’ve heard of $1500/month on towers in rural areas. This is technology. If the County doesn’t consult with an expert, they’ll get taken to the cleaners by ATT.

      While I’m sure ATT has done its homework regarding siting and possible alternatives, they are no doubt pursuing and lobbying-for the least-cost option in their favor. Perhaps they’ve learned they could solve this problem with one or two towers on nearby private locations (like the tops of private buildings or other bluff land), but the one tower would be cheaper. Or maybe there’s a US Cellular tower in range, but ATT doesn’t want to pay their rent. As one MJS commenter suggested, AntennaSearch.com’s maps show 62 towers within four miles of the bottom of Lake Drive.

      Smart municipalities build their own towers and rent them to all comers. Will ATT allow others on this tower? Who gets that revenue?

  6. Paul says:

    I would love to see a picture of some kind on what we are looking at. I think the cell tower would be a great addition to the area if we can avoid it being too obtrusive. As long as the restroom building isnt bright orange with a corporate logo the facilities and money are a nice addition to also improving the cell phone infrastructure in out city. I would prefer to get the money faster or in larger amounts and I would love AT to pay for upkeep on the building and bathrooms but in general I am just happy to be getting ANYTHING from a corporation these days besides bribes for elected officials.

  7. Adam says:

    I think it’s a great idea to build the tower near the lakefront. There is poor signal down there, and its unacceptable.

  8. Bill Sell says:

    I have misgivings about AT&T’s plan to erect a cell phone tower on the lake front.

    The non-competitiveness of the proposal – allowing only 2 competitors in a field of 6 to use the tower, while AT&T retains the top two pole positions – suggests a market coup that AT&T hopes to earn by a rather small donation to the County budget. Because there is a Lake Front Compact, so intelligently explained by Charles Kamp at last week’s meeting, our lake front is not open for sale or rent; and to open the door to one vendor is to close the door on the meaning of that Lakefront Compact. Why would not each competitor demand and win its own tower? What kind of tower farm will the lake front become?

    While I appreciate the needs of the people who use Lake Drive to commute, I would politely remind them that the lakefront belongs to all of us. The simple solution for those commuters is to take the city grid northbound; and may I suggest the presence of one more tower, on a roadway, abets the illegal practice of using a cell phone while driving.

    Safety
    I would not want to argue against anyone’s personal safety walking the lake front, but that consideration should be wrapped in a proposal for a County-owned tower, capable of being leased to all wireless vendors. If safety is dependent on one or two cell service vendors, it is not the kind of universal protection that a government should enable. Building and leasing property will be far more lucrative to the County than getting a modest donation and giving away a franchise to a single vendor. I remind all that the parks are wanting funds because twice now the government in Madison ignored the November 2008 referendum in which County directed their elected officials to fund the parks (and transit) with a tax swap. We can afford to maintain the parks (and transit) if we lighten the tax load on the homeowner and also ask visitors to the County to contribute a half-cent on the dollar for parks and transit.

    In any case, safety is a red herring if 5 vendors are excluded from using the tower. One does not choose a phone service by consulting a map for “safety” zones.

    Please dismantle this poorly thought out idea and find a way to provide a County-owned and leased tower that (1) does not violate the Lake Front Compact, and (2) provides a universal safety zone for all users who may walk the lakefront.

  9. Sean says:

    Has the negative impact of cell towers on biological functions even come into consideration? If not, start doing some research. The electromagnetic “smog” that is created by these towers are the fastest growing form of environmental pollution. For instance, in 2003 the American Bird Conservancy and Forest Conservation Council filed a lawsuit against the FCC because millions of migratory birds were being disoriented by microwave radiation and crashing into cell towers. Many countries around the world have banned cell towers from being erected within 1500 feet of schools and residences due to the high risk of developing cancer when constantly in the towers electromagnetic field. I know many people are not willing to sacrifice health and safety so they can have better cell reception at the lakefront, but the facts are swept under the table by the powerful, influential Telecommunications corporations so nobody even knows the risk involved. This is about greed, not need, for both the cell companies, and the local governments that take the kickbacks despite compromising public health.

  10. Jay says:

    Why not use a third party tower developer for co-location of all the carriers? This would ensure much more revenue and someone in the business to advocate for the best revenue from the carrier. There are many developers that operate in this area. Clearshotcom.com built many throughout the US and maximizes Landlord profits (not the wireless carriers)..

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