In an effort to improve cell phone coverage in town, the Select Board has scheduled a crane test on town-owned land in a wooded area behind Hildreth House to determine the visual impact of a short cell tower. Should the board approve leasing the 2,500-square-foot parcel to a wireless company for a tower, residents would make the final decision at Annual Town Meeting in the spring.
The test is being conducted by Isotrope LLC, the company that recently completed a cell phone coverage study in town. It recommended installing a tower at the Hildreth location to improve coverage for a 1-mile radius around town center, the eastern portion of Still River Road, and the eastern and western sides of Bare Hill Pond.
The crane will be raised to a height of 125 feet between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 21. It will also have a 105-foot mark representing the zoning bylaw’s height limit; a 125-foot tower would require a special permit. Town Administrator Tim Bragan told the Press the site under consideration is blocked by trees, so the crane will be located near the lower parking lot of Hildreth House, and the results will be interpolated to determine the visual impact of the tower on various parts of town.
The test will cost about $3,000, funded by a Reserve Fund transfer. About $1,400 of that will pay for the crane rental from nearby Astro Crane on Codman Hill Road in Boxborough.
Residents are encouraged to take photos of the crane from their houses and send them to the town administrator to be used along with town photos as input to the Select Board’s analysis. Submit photos to asktheTA@harvard-ma.gov.