Johnstown Independent

Moved to softball practice field

Village, JYAA agree on new cell tower site

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The village of Johnstown and the Johnstown Youth Athletic Association successfully have compromised on a deal for placement of a new cellphone tower at the JYAA's Belt Field Sports Complex.

In July, village officials expressed concerns about a cell tower being installed on the complex's property directly across from the village boundaries at 281 W. Jersey St. -- in Monroe Township.

After weeks of discussion, village officials proposed a new site to the southwest of the original plan that would put the 180-foot cell tower behind the village's water-treatment plant and farther away from homeowners who might not want their view obstructed.

"It won't be directly in the rear yards of people, and the water-treatment plant is there anyway, so it won't stick out as much as it would right next to Jersey Street," Village Manager Jim Lenner told ThisWeek.

JYAA president Chad Harrison said he was happy to work with the village after hearing officials' concerns.

"We want to be a great community partner," he said. "And we appreciate the village working with us, too. We know it's not the ideal location, but we wanted to work with them so everybody can win a little bit here."

The JYAA, which is not funded by public dollars, is expected to benefit greatly from the deal.

Harrison said the agreement to put the cell tower on JYAA property -- signed with SBC Communications -- would generate $750 a month for the JYAA over the next 35 years.

"There's no tax revenue that's paid to our park, and it's a community park," he said. "The community uses it ... but we don't have any revenue to keep it up. This allows us to make improvements and maintenance ... without having to increase fees for sports programs."

Although Lenner and other village officials say they aren't thrilled about the tower, they understand its importance to the JYAA.

"Ultimately, having a tower that close is not something we desired," Lenner said. "But we acknowledge the fact that the JYAA needs that revenue source to help with the youth programs that they provide. We didn't want to stand in their way."

Harrison said some additional site-mapping is required after the change in plans, but SBC planners expect to begin construction before winter.

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