By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
The city of Grove City has entered into an agreement with Arcadia Infrastructure to help address poor cellular service in the city.
Grove City Council approved the legislation at the Sept. 5 meeting.
According to Todd Hurley, the director of information systems in the city, Arcadia has already identified cellular coverage issues. He said council approving this legislation moves the process forward, so the company can build new towers then lease space on the tower to cellular providers.
According to a report by Arcadia, there are pockets of coverage issues throughout Grove City. Most of the issues are east of Interstate 71, near the shopping center off Stringtown Road and Ohio Health Grove City Methodist Hospital. There are also coverage issues further down on Buckeye Parkway near the Pinnacle and in downtown Grove City.
“We have a pretty serious cell coverage problem in Grove City today,” said councilman Randy Holt.
The report identified the need for seven to nine cell towers in the area.
“This means we have to put up cell towers in Grove City,” said Holt. “If you want improved cell service, there has to be a tower closer to you. And you may be able to see it.”
According to Holt, there are 27 different sites in the area that are owned by the city, Jackson Township, or the school (SWCS) district. The report has identified parks, fire departments, police departments, and schools as ideal places for towers.
“Not all of these places would be a perfect place for a tower,” said Holt.
One of the locations cellular providers identified as an ideal spot for a tower is the Jackson Township Fire Station on Buckeye Parkway.
Once Arcadia Infrastructure identifies locations where they would like to build a tower, council would need to approve the zoning, though the city is limited in its powers.
Since the Telecommunications Act in the mid-1990s was enacted in the United States, local jurisdictions cannot prohibit the placement of communication towers. Municipalities can attempt to regulate how and where the towers are placed if the impact does not preclude wireless service.
According to Hurley, this will be a one-to-two-year process.
“This is not going to happen overnight,” he said.
Hurley said the company will have to identify locations, build the towers, then market the site to multiple providers. And this will take some time.
“This is a holistic approach to this problem,” he said. “There is a clear need for us to step in and do something.”
Councilman Mark Sigrist asked if there were any temporary measures that could be taken to alleviate the problem until more towers can be built.
Hurley said the three main providers (AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile) are aware of the issue and have said they would take steps to address it, though Hurley said this would act as a band-aid until a permanent solution is found.
Hurley also said this issue is not unique to Grove City.
“This is a carrier problem all over the country.”