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Friday, March 8, 2013 02:29 pm

Celling out?

Parks consider cell tower for Pasfield

Here's what the Monopine cellphone tower might look like.
Springfield Park District

The Springfield Park District is considering a proposal to install a 100-foot-tall cell phone tower at Pasfield Golf Course.

Disguised as a tree and dubbed a Mono Pine, the tower would be installed near the course’s maintenance facility and would remain in place for as long as 25 years, with the park district collecting $1,500 a month in lease fees from AT&T, which approached the district last year. The company would have the right to build a fence around the tower and take any other “appropriate means” to secure the leased 560 square feet according to a draft lease.

There is no guarantee that the district will sign the lease, says Derek Harms, acting executive director for the park district.

“We’re in the investigative mode,” Harms said. “We’re kind of soliciting and seeking input from anybody in that surrounding area that may have questions or concerns or points of view.”

Graham Murdock, who lives near the course and found flier on his door on Thursday inviting him to attend a park board committee meeting next week to provide input, has a few opinions about the Mono Pine, none of them flattering.

“I don’t like the idea,” Murdock said. “There are two things I don’t like about it. One is the way they’re sneaking it through with a one-week notice, and only to a very limited number of people. … The second thing is, why is the park district all-of-a-sudden putting commercial enterprise zones into our parks? They’re entrusted to look after park assets for the whole community.”

The way Murdock sees it, parks and park property belong to everyone, so everyone in Springfield, not just folks who live near the golf course, should have an interest in whether a fake tree is erected. Harms doesn’t disagree. The district, he says, wants to hear from everyone.

The committee meeting is scheduled for next Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at park district headquarters at Bunn Park on South 11th Street.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.

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