Medina group fights to keep 80-foot cell tower out of city playfield

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The city of Medina makes $32,000 a year just for allowing a 45' cell tower to stick out at Fairweather Park.
 
"Parks are not piggybanks. There's no revenue that we should sell our park for," said Cindy Adkins, Medina city council member and a member of a nonprofit called Respect Medina.
 
The group is not only fighting to get the 45-foot pole removed from the playfields, but it is also part of a federal lawsuit to keep Independent Towers and T-Mobile from building an 80' cell tower in the same spot.
 
"We're asking them to pick a spot outside the park. They don’t need to be in the park. They can be on (Route) 520, and there's many other solutions available to them," said Adkins.
 
The proposal by Independent Towers and T-Mobile also calls for a 1500-square-foot equipment vault to be built at the base of the new pole.
 
Neighbors argue that would be like building a structure the same size as a three bedroom house in the middle of the playfield.
 
"Well, I think that it's a not in my park issue. I think it's not in my backyard issue," said Heija Nunn, Medina resident.
 
But Independent Towers and T-Mobile sued the city, arguing Medina can't deny a location if the tower could fill in coverage gaps in cell service.
 
A federal judge put that case on hold so Independent Towers and T-Mobile can find a new location.
 
"I have been a T-Mobile customer for maybe 20 years," said Nunn.
 
Nunn hopes the tower would return closer to the 520 bridge, where it was before the bridge construction project.
 
"I don't think that people would choose a place that's essentially in the middle of a children's playfield," said Nunn.
 
"T-Mobile has been searching to find a new solution for the community and is committed to continue working toward a resolution that will ensure our customers in Medina can have strong and dependable wireless service," said a representative for T-Mobile.
 
"The case is presently stayed, meaning there will be no court activity until the judge places the case back on a case schedule. The current stay lasts through Feb. 22, when the parties must report back to the judge. We do anticipate filing a motion to dismiss the case by that date and will ask the judge to hear that motion even if the stay is otherwise continued. Ultimately, if the case is not dismissed, either voluntarily by the plaintiffs, because they choose to file a new application, or on the city's motion, then at some point, the case will need to proceed to trial. But nothing about the lawsuit prevents T-Mobile and Independent Towers from researching and applying for a permit to erect a tower somewhere else, at any time," said Jeff Ganson, Medina City Attorney.

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