Letter to the Editor

Reader responds to Jim Simmons' letter to the editor

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Editor's Note: Jim Simmons wrote a letter to the editor published in the Jan. 14 edition supporting the cell tower in Busch.

Jim Simmons is a good friend and one of our heroes with the Inspiration Point Fire Department. We all want great cell phone service, especially for people like Jim that go on emergency calls to protect our community. We have both AT&T and Verizon cell phones, a small price to pay to protect our environment and tourist economy.

My strong objections to the proposed AT&T cell tower and the FCC approval process are related to the lack of notification, environmental assessment and economic impact study for Eureka Springs West.

At a time when SWEPCO's Route 109 is in the works just because SPP makes a false claim, we demand respect for our economy, health and environment. AT&T is behaving like a "thief in the night" while many landowners are out of town for the winter and no one has been notified.

Here are some of the questions AT&T needs to answer before breaking ground in Eureka Springs West:

What is the purpose of the cell tower? Is it about customer service or corporate greed?

What other carriers, like Verizon, provide current and future service?

What other alternatives does AT&T have to provide the desired service?

Why do we need a 260-foot tower? Most towers in the area are less than 100-foot tall?

Given the small footprint requirements for cell towers, is Beaver Lake Storage at the entrance to Eureka Springs West, highly visible from U.S. Highway 62, the best location from a scenic impact perspective?

What is the impact to bald eagles and other endangered wildlife from the cell tower?

What are the total microwave and EMF/ELF emissions from both the total number of antennae and the power transformers used to convert AC to DC current on the base of the tower?

What are the health risks for people living near the tower?

What is the visual pollution of a 24/7 high intensity beacon, clearly visible from Inspiration Point, Blue Springs Heritage and many other tourist locations?

What are the plans to compensate the loss in property value for the landowners near the cell tower? How can Fred B profit and his neighbors lose, just because Fred sold out his neighbors?

Who is next in line to build another tower in Eureka Springs West?

Permanent change requires careful planning and input from Eureka Springs West to make it a win-win for all.

-- Dr. Luis Contreras

Eureka Springs West