Editorial: Finding perfect site for cell tower easier said than done

Cell towers fall into the category of sewers, landfills and homeless shelters.

They're needed. They're important. They make our community more complete.

OK, now try finding a location for any of the above that does not create a community uproar.

Yavapai County learned that lesson years ago when trying to shut down old landfills and finding a suitable site for a new one. It took time, and a lot of grief, before Waste Management's Grey Hills Landfill opened about halfway between Cottonwood and Prescott ... basically in the middle of nowhere. Out of sight. Out of mind.

Similarly, Cottonwood fought this battle a quarter century ago when the community made the conversion from individual septic systems to centralized sewer service. The original proposed site for the sewer was where Riverfront Park exists today. When that site was first proposed for a sewer plant, the locals screamed that a sewer by a river stinks, even though Clarkdale's sewer plant had been so located for decades. After the sewer was built on the far west end of Mingus Avenue near the Verde Valley Humane Society, folks complained that it was stupid to pump sewage uphill. Now, all these years later, city plans include a compact wastewater packaging plant near Riverfront Park.

Cottonwood has also taken on the subject of creating a homeless shelter over the years, and it too was met with stubborn resistance on some fronts. Today, Catholic Social Services provides daytime drop-in service for homeless people, but we still are without a homeless shelter.

Now the issue is cell towers. We have one located off Aspen Street in Cottonwood and that project was completed rather painlessly, though it did have its detractors. Another has been talked about near Mingus Union High School. Last week, we had our first community meeting about a proposal for another to be located along the 89A bypass between Cottonwood and Clarkdale. It predictably is being lambasted. Certainly, the rights of homeowners and their view shed has to be considered when locating a cell tower.

But let's make no mistake about the need for improved cell service in the Verde Valley. What we have now is adequate at best. It's something the community needs, just like sewer service and a landfill.

Good luck finding a site that makes everyone happy.

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