Public hearing on cell tower, CBDG grant held

Published: Friday, January 10, 2014 at 10:14 AM.

CHIPLEY — The Washington County Planning Commission held a public hearing Tuesday to consider a new cell tower for Wausau and to begin the process of seeking a $750,000 Community Block Development Grant for the county.

Roger Simpson, representing AT&T, presented the plans for a 195-foot cell tower in Wausau that will improve AT&T’s coverage along Highway 77 between Wausau and Bay County.

“AT&T approached the town of Wausau to consider where a tower could be placed,” Simpson said, “because we had no coverage in that area.”

Simpson said the situation will be a win-win for the company and the town of Wausau. “The town will receive the financial benefit from leasing out part of the park for the tower, and it will improve our coverage along this important highway.”

Senior Planner Michael DeRuntz showed the commissioners artist’s renditions of what the area will look like once the tower is built. “Due to the tree mass and the distance from the highway, I don’t believe it will be very visible,” he said.

Commissioner James Ussery asked if AT&T couldn’t use an existing tower to get the same coverage, and Simpson explained that due to the amount of data that is being handled by cell towers today, the effective range of towers has decreased from 2 miles to about ½ a mile.

“We have to have more structures to be able to provide our customers the service they expect,” Simpson said.

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