Streetsboro -- Money paid to the city 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 believe.
The Verizon cellular tower would provide a monthly fee of $1,250 to the city, according to a City Council document. For each additional telecommunications carrier other than Verizon whose equipment is installed on the tower, $350 a month would be paid.
Mayor Glenn Broska said he believes revenue from the cell tower may 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, adding he supports being able to use the funding for the entire parks system, not just to improve Thomas Heritage Park.
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 than $20,000," he said.
Council took no official action at its July 28 during which the discussion took place. The issue was moved to Council's Aug. 25 finance committee meeting.
Council member John Ruediger suggested the cell tower revenue should go to Thomas Heritage Park.
"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."
Council member Tim Claypoole agreed, saying he likes the idea of the money going to Thomas Heritage Park because that is where the cell tower would be located.
Other Council members, though, said they'd like to see cell tower revenue go to all the parks in the city, or programs at those parks.
Council Vice President 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]."
Council member 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.
"[By putting all the funds in Thomas Heritage Park], you limit yourself," Michniak said.
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 should trust her to do what needs to be done. When the parks are improved, the city is improved."
Streetsboro Parks & Recreation Director Missy Hatch said she's just 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."
Council President 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 areas 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."
The 130-acre Thomas Heritage Park is along Route 303 just west of the Target store.
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