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AT&T Cell Towers To Be Installed At Westfield Conservation Center

Community Corner AT&T Cell Towers To Be Installed At Westfield Conservation Center Westfield Town Council unanimously approved the contract with AT&T, which aims to improve cellular reception in the south side of town. Reply
The council voted unanimously to approve the new cell tower facility. (Shutterstock)
WESTFIELD, NJ — In a unanimous vote, the Westfield Town Council approved an award of contract with AT&T to build a cell tower facility at the town’s Conservation Center.
Councilman Mark Parmalee explained at the previous Town Hall meeting that the aim of this project is to address poor cellular reception that is prevalent on the south side of town, as well as address long-standing parking and pedestrian safety issues at Houlihan/ Sid Fay fields on Lamberts Mill Road. AT&T offered Westfield a lump sum upfront payment of $100,000, followed by annual payments of $45,000 during each year of the agreement. This money will also be used to improve the Houlihan/ Sid Fay field complex, including adding a pre-fabricated bathroom and expansion and safety improvements to the parking lot.
This initiative was first brought to the table in Feb. of 2021 when the town issued a Request for Proposals for cellular providers to place a cell tower adjacent to Houlihan/Sid Fay fields based on a letter the town received from a wireless carrier at the time, expressing an interest in this placement. In return for allowing a carrier to install a cell tower, the Town would require the provider to pay for improvements to the Houlihan/Sid Fay fields, which Parmalee said would be an “innovative solution” at no cost to taxpayers. The provider would also have to pay annual lease payments for the use of the property.
But when the town issued a bid for lease of a communications facility to cellular providers this past summer, it received no bid responses. In a change of plans, the town received feedback this fall that a placement of a cell tower at the Conservation Center on Lamberts Mill Road would better close the coverage gap that exists in a large portion of the southwest area of Westfield with a shorter pole required.
“Both wireless carriers and residents alike have repeatedly cited a need to improve cellular service in the southwest section of town, specifically Lamberts Mill to Willow Grove Road and Clifton Street, inclusive of Tamaques and Jefferson Elementary Schools,” Parmalee said. “These areas have been identified as having wireless service gaps, specifically in the interiors of homes and buildings – a concern we hear increasingly from residents.” Additionally, Parmalee said boosting coverage in this area would improve the reliability of Westfield’s emergency response network for first responders.
Parmalee stressed that if the council did not approve a location on town property, the cell providers could go to an alternate site on private property, either in Westfield or in close proximity in a neighboring town. Although this would still improve coverage in Westfield, Parmalee said it would eliminate the town from being able to reap any of the investment or revenue benefits. “We understand there are many sensitivities when it comes to cell towers,” Parmalee said. “However, knowing that a cell tower in the vicinity may be inevitable, it is prudent to take a proactive and engaged approach to ensure that we maximize the benefit to Westfield taxpayers and maintain controls in the process.” “In this case, we have the opportunity to resolve a long-standing safety issue at Houlihan/Sid Fay field and additionally reap the benefit of having someone else cover the costs of these improvements,” he said.
You can view the entire Town Council meeting on Westfield’s Facebook page. Check out other coverage of last week’s meeting: Crucial Decision On Turf Project Made At Westfield Council Meeting

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