Money paid to Streetsboro from a proposed cellular tower that would be constructed at Thomas Heritage Park should be used to fund either Thomas Heritage Park, specifically, or parks in the city in general, City Council members said.
The Verizon cellular tower would provide a monthly fee of $1,250 to the city. For each additional telecommunications carrier whose equipment is installed on the tower, $350 per month would be paid.
Mayor Glenn Broska said he believes revenue from the cell tower could range from $20,000 to $30,000 annually.
"Anything we can do to increase the revenue for the parks and the city is something that is good for us," he said.
Providing a strong parks system is the sort of thing that will help attract businesses looking for amenities for employees, he said.
Broska also said he would like to be able to use cell tower revenue to pay for the local share of grants.
"It turns $20,000 into $100,000, and we can do a whole heck of a lot more with $100,000 that $20,000," he said.
Council is expected to discuss the issue at its Aug. 25 finance committee meeting.
Councilman John Ruediger suggested the cell tower revenue should go to Thomas Heritage Park. The 130-acre park is along S.R. 303 just west of the Target store.
"Spread between all those parks, I don't think (the money) would make as great of an impact as it would if we concentrated on Thomas Heritage," Ruediger said. "It's a new park, and it has a ton of potential."
Other council members said they'd like to see cell tower revenue go to all the parks in the city, or programs at those parks.
Councilwoman Bridget Pavlick said Thomas Heritage is for "more passive recreation."
"I would rather see (the money utilized in a more aggressive manner like with maintenance programs for ballfields where we have more active recreation," Pavlick said. "We should fix what we have (first)."
Councilman Steve Michniak said he would also like to see the funds used at other parks and was concerned about council legislation that would restrict the funds from being used anywhere but Thomas Heritage Park.
If the city wants to use some of the funds at Thomas Heritage Park, he said it can, but "it is a passive park. I don't know how attractive that park really is. I don't want to spend a ton of money on it."
"Cell tower revenue (should be placed) in a fund where we can utilize it, not just for soccer and baseball, but also for programming within the parks department," Michniak said. "So that monthly income can help us maintain these programs with that newfound revenue, so it wouldn't really be costing us anything."
Resident Pearl Pullman stressed the city is paying Parks & Recreation Director Missy Hatch "to manage the parks and rec. department. I think we would trust her to do what needs to be done. When the parks are improved, the city is improved."
Hatch said she's pleased council wants to spend the money in the parks department and has no preference whether the funds are earmarked specifically for Thomas Heritage Park or the park system, at large.
"It doesn't really matter," she said. "All the parks have different needs, and the money can be used wisely in any one of them."
Councilwoman Julie Field said she would "like to see [the money used] for all of the parks and for city beautification."
Ruediger believes using money for city beautification would be spreading the funds too thin, adding, "We have a lot of area that would be deemed as 'city beautification.' We're not talking about $1 million [being available] here."
Council member Jeff Allen agreed, saying, "[The money] should go to all the parks."
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Any income from a cell tower is welcome. The environamental impact is virtually nil and the money can always be used. Win/win/win. Limiting the income to one park seems to benefit the residents nearest that park rather than to the community in general. Further, Heritage Park (and how do you get in there , anyway?!!) is not suitable for many forms of recreation, so sharing the funds with the other parks can offer the benefit more recreational opportunities.