University joins city in opposition to Verizon cell tower construction

City Editor and City Editor

Plans for the construction of a cellphone tower on the intersection of Interstate 75 and East Wooster Street provoked strong disapproval from the city and University during Monday’s city council meeting.

“The city was not made aware of the plans to construct a 155-foot [Verizon] cell tower at the entrance to the city … until early October, 2012,” said Mayor Richard Edwards, who read his and the University’s statements against the construction.

The land is being leased to Verizon by the Ohio Department of Transportation since the site is in the state right-of-way, said Mike Marsh, city attorney.

Main concerns of the tower included it potentially altering the look of the entrance into the city and campus.

“From the standpoint of aesthetics, it’s darn ugly,” Edwards said after the meeting. “Putting this tower at the entrance of the community just boggles my mind.”

Edwards said both the University and city have been trying to make improvements to the appearance of that area and the tower would counteract them.

Ohio Sen. Randy Gardner (R-D2) and Ohio Rep. Tim Brown (R-D3) also voiced their disapproval of Verizon and ODOT’s decision to construct the tower there, despite alternative sites suggested by the University and city such as by the Ice Arena or Carter Park.

“There is still time to bring the parties together to find a way to meet Verizon’s needs while working with BGSU and the city to address our concerns,” Gardner said.

Brown said a regional director of ODOT pledged his cooperation with the city and University.

“ODOT is not our friend in this process,” Marsh said. “The cell tower wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for ODOT.”

If an agreement cannot be reached between the three parties, the city will deny the tower electrical supply, Edwards said.

The tower could still get power with a generator, “but they’d have to fill it up with gasoline every six to eight hours,” Marsh said.