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Plan for antenna tower in Bates Woods to be available

By Kathleen Edgecomb

Publication: The Day

Published June 19. 2013 4:00AM

New London - An application for a proposed 115-foot antenna tower at Bates Woods will soon be available for review at the city clerk's office in New London and the town clerk's office in Waterford.

Message Center Management and AT&T have filed an application with the Connecticut Siting Council to replace a 90-foot light pole at the public park off Chester Street. The project includes putting up a new monopole tower and building a 3,190-square-foot utility building in the western central portion of the park, about 1,150 feet from New London High School. The park also abuts Waterford.

Plans will be available for review starting Friday at the New London City's Clerk's Office on State Street, the Waterford Town Clerk's Office on Rope Ferry Road and at the Siting Council office, 10 Franklin Square, New Britain.

The council has yet to set a public hearing on the proposal. When it does, a balloon representing the proposed height of the tower will be flown at the site at Bates Woods on the first day of the hearing.

In January, the New London City Council authorized the mayor to enter into and execute a lease agreement between the city and Message Center Management to replace the existing light tower and construct a wireless facility at Bates Woods.

Message Center Management has proposed putting the tower in right field at Cannamela Field. AT&T will lease a spot on the tower, and there will be space for other wireless providers as well. Message Center estimates that the city will receive an average income of about $40,000 a year over the next 20 years.

Message Center officials estimate that the tower will enhance mobile phone service south of Interstate 95, from Fog Plain Road in Waterford to Broad Street, Jefferson Avenue and Route 1.

The city's Parks and Recreation Commission has endorsed the project.

In 2011, Message Center pulled a proposal for a similar tower at Ocean Beach Park after residents opposed the location of the structure. That tower, which would have been 140 feet tall, was estimated to generate about $24,000 a year in rental fees for the city and an additional 30 percent of gross revenue from up to six tenants on the pole.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

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