CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – A battle over building a cell tower in one Montgomery County neighborhood is heating up.
In a special called meeting Monday in Clarksville, upset neighbors met with church members, who are considering building the tower, to discuss the project. While the issue is still unresolved, church members listened to neighbors' concerns and asked questions.
The St. Bethlehem United Methodist Church along Old Russellville Pike is considering leasing part of its land to Verizon to build the 100 foot tower. The land is currently an open field where kids often play soccer.
Ever since first hearing about the proposed cell tower, neighbors have fought back with petitions, yard signs and protests outside the church. They said they are concerned the tower would hurt their property values, be an eyesore, and possibly cause health problems for those who live nearby.
“I am hoping this church will realize we are not trying to stop something because it looks ugly,” said Frances McKillip, who lives across the street from the church. “We are trying to protect our children and families.”
During the meeting, McKillip and a couple other neighbors addressed church members about their concerns.
“I just don’t think they understand how big this thing will be,” said Fred Holly, another neighborhood resident who opposes the project. “It just doesn’t make sense to put it in the middle of a neighborhood.”
Bill Booth, Chair of the Church Council, said the project would bring in extra revenue for a church with an aging population. He said the church was hopeful the project would be something that would benefit the entire community, by providing stronger cell service.
“We see it as something for the greater good,” said Booth. “It’s not exciting to picture a big pole, but it is necessary for the life we live today.”
Members of the St. Bethlehem United Methodist Church Council have to sign off on the project before construction would begin. The council’s next meeting is Sept. 14. The site plan will also have to be finalized by the Clarksville- Montgomery County Regional Planning Commission.