Cell tower in the church bell tower?

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — The church located in the Casco Village could be the site of a cell tower.

It has long been a source of frustration for both residents and visitors that cell service is sketchy at best, and calls constantly get dropped in the Village.

Plus, the problem stands in the way of any efforts at economic development in the Village.

“Ultimately what we want is good cell phone coverage,” Casco Selectman Holly Hancock said.

Hancock, a member of the Casco Village Church United Church of Christ, recently talked about a plan to build a cell tower inside the steeple of the structure. It was during a Casco Board of Selectmen meeting in late September that Hancock shared what parishioners have been considering.

“Part of the discussion of the church is that putting a cell tower in the steeple would require that the steeple be rebuilt,” she said.

While some people favor it, other churchgoers would prefer to leave the steeple be.

“But, bill needs to be paid. Should it become an option, that side of the argument would (most likely) win out,” she said.

After all, housing a cell tower brings in money for the property owner.

“It is an income-generating activity, it would pay for itself,” she said.

For a three-day period that a portable cell tower sat there during Casco Days, it generated $1,000 in revenue, she said.

Also, the proposed cell tower would be hidden in the church’s steeple, whereas placing a cell tower on Leech Hill or Mayberry Hill would pose an aesthetic issue for residents, Hancock said.

“The Casco Village Church has been actively pursuing a cell phone tower. We’ve engaged the services of Dave Libby, and signed a contract with him. “What he is reporting to us is that the population is not large enough. That we are in a bowl, so the range would be low, she said.

“So, it is not for lack of wanting it. It’s what the cell phone companies are considering a big bang for their buck,” Hancock said.

In the past, at other board meetings, the idea of putting a cell tower above the Post Office in the Casco Community Center has been briefly touched upon. For now, town officials are waiting until the Casco Village Church makes a final decision.

 

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