Minerva Town Hall
Members of the Minerva Planning Board Aug. 7 unanimously approved Verizon’s application to construct a cell phone tower here on private property.
Their decision reflected widespread support that was expressed during the public hearing held before the regular meeting.
“This decision is part of a four-year process to get cell service here,” Minerva Town Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey said in a phone interview. “A cell tower is important to our community for three reasons: increasing public safety, promoting tourism and supporting local businesses.”
Corey explained that people driving along the highway or in the woods hiking would be able to access help and emergency services should the need arise. It would also be a boon to tourists, local businesses, and residents by providing access to the larger regional and global economy.
“Tourists will be able to stay connected and continue to conduct whatever business they need to conduct while visiting the area,” Corey said.
Town officials originally hoped that Verizon would find a site on town property so the town would benefit from additional revenue generated by a rental agreement.
“Ultimately, though, after balloon tests behind the Town Hall, Verizon and the APA decided that the proposed 120-foot tower wouldn’t be acceptable,” the supervisor said.
After looking at some other locations, Verizon decided on a site adjacent to Sporty’s Iron Duke Saloon, on property owned by Donna Saunders. The 75-foot tower will be topped by an 8-foot “cone” that will contain transparent antennas and artificial branches. The coverage area will include Minerva and parts of Olmstedville.
“We’ve been given to understand that there will be room for another carrier on the tower once it is completed,” Corey said.
It could take between six and 12 months to complete the project. Once the final review by the Adirondack Park Agency and the federal regulatory processes are complete, Verizon will finalize its construction plans. The construction itself is expected to take two to three months.
“This one tower can’t meet all the town’s telecommunications needs, and while they may look at locations to do a second tower to fill in gaps in service, they are currently backlogged in terms of building an additional tower,” Corey said. “However, the town would certainly entertain interest from other carriers for under-served parts of the community.”
Residents have been relying on signal boosters in order to receive reliable cell service in the area. The Town Hall has one, and many locals make use of it.
“I’ve seen people come and sit on the front steps, stop in the parking lot, or come in if we’re open,” Corey said.
The new tower will make such trips for cell phone service unnecessary for many residents.
“The Town Board, the Planning Board, and I have been doing everything in our power to support the building of a cell tower in Minerva and are very happy to see this moving toward becoming a reality in the near future,” Corey said.