By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
Grove City officials are taking steps to address poor cellular service in the city.
Todd Hurley, director of information systems in Grove City, spoke with representatives from both AT&T and Verizon and approached Arcadia Towers, a consulting firm that deals with the research and marketing side of cellular coverage.
According to a report by Arcadia Towers, 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 are truly underserved in Grove City,” said Hurley.
The report identified the need for seven to nine cell towers in the area. The question becomes where do they put the towers?
“The trick is always placement of a tower,” said Grove City council president Ted Berry. “No one wants to look at a tower so that will be the biggest issue. And I don’t want anyone opening their door, looking at a tower.”
Hurley said no matter where the towers would go, there will be residents who are upset about the tower placement, but said it is something that would benefit the entire city.
“How can we best address the need in Grove City as a whole?” asked Hurley. “We need to take a holistic approach.”
Hurley said he provided a list of city-owned properties to the consultants, as well as properties in Jackson Township and South-Western City School District sites. He used the example of the tower located near the Grove City Skate Park and the Jackson Township administration building on Hoover Road.
“These are locations to look for,” said Hurley.
One of the locations the cellular providers identified as an ideal spot for a tower, according to Hurley, is the Jackson Township Fire Station on Buckeye Parkway.
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.
City officials will decide if they want to proceed with Arcadia Towers and allow the firm to prepare a market analysis of each potential location, where it would outline possible income for each location and market the towers to national wireless service providers.
“We would like to work out an agreement to put multiple carriers on a tower,” said Hurley.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage noted that this is not just a problem in Grove City. He said this is a statewide connectivity issue.