Agawam city council approves first step in adding new cell phone - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

COPY-Agawam city council approves first step in adding new cell phone tower

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Residents in a certain Agawam neighborhood say making cell phone calls from inside their homes is nearly impossible. Now, a new initiative is in the works for Verizon Wireless to install a cell phone tower near that area.

Peg Kane said she would like to save some money and get rid of her land line. But right not that's not an option.

"I would like to give up my land line and go with just the cell phone but the cell phone reception isn't good enough to do that so that's why I kept the land line all this time," Kane said.

She's happy to see a plan for an additional cell phone tower go into action. Her neighbors on Cooper Road and Maplemeadows Lane all seem to agree.

City councilor Joe Mineo said Verizon users have had many problems over the year in this section of the city.

"At my house I can't get any phone service," Mineo said. "What I have to do is I have to go out on to my street and in my front yard to either make a phone call or receive a phone call."

Mineo calls much of Route 57 a dead zone. The council just approved a piece of property on Mill Street as an overlay zone for the 100-foot cell tower. Verizon Wireless said service will be better improved in this vicinity, and hopefully eliminate the problem.

City council has referred the proposal to the zoning board of appeals, where they will make a decision and then recommend to the council. At Monday night's meeting no residents opposed the idea.

Public safety officials are on board with the tower. Agawam Fire Chief Alan Sirois said better reception will help improve public safety by allowing individuals to make emergency calls, especially during a power outage.

"In addition, the Agawam Fire Department uses Verizon Wireless for voice and data services as a backup means of communication so it's safety for our personnel as well as a back up means of communication," Sirois said.

Mayor Richard Cohen said another tower is needed.

"I hope that it is for public safety purposes and for the people that don't have service," Cohen said.

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