Neighbors rally against cell phone tower on church grounds

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- People living near St. Joseph’s Church on Green Bay’s south side are voicing their concern, protesting against a cell phone tower that will be built on church grounds.

Within the last week, those living near the church were made aware of the coming cell tower.

“People that live across the street from a great big, ugly cell tower … it’s not a neighborhood builder,” says Green Bay Alderman Guy Zima.

Zima, and others who live near the church, call the coming cell tower an “eye sore,” saying it will drive down the value of their property.

“We’ve had hundreds of petitions signed by people that are against the tower to be here,” says Karen Stoehr, who organized Sunday’s protest.

Neighbors started gathering signatures about three years ago, the first time a cell phone tower was in the works. Now, they’re back gathering even more signatures, saying they deserve a voice.

“We need a say-so in things like this, in our neighborhood,” Stoehr says. “And not just for the church members, but the community needs to put in their voice with this.”

Meanwhile, the church is already moving forward with plans for the tower. Instead of driving property value down, it says the tower will actually benefit those who live nearby.

“We were told that we’re in the middle of a dead spot,” says Carol Kittell, the business administrator at St. Joseph’s Church. “So community-wise, it’s going to be beneficial. Provide better cell phone coverage, and nowadays, everybody has a cell phone.”

The cell phone tower is set to be built in the parking lot behind St. Joseph’s Church, with the church’s name on all four sides. Kittell says the tower will likely be up and running by the end of the year.