Green Township’s Internet Towers get a little closer

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GREEN TOWNSHIP – The Green Township Board has secured property for the second of two new internet towers, approving a lease agreement with George Derby for the use of property on Round Lake Road.

The council this week approved a lease agreement with Paul Owens for the property at 180th and Beach Road in December. The lease with Derby could not be implemented until an investigation into the property was completed.

“The investigation is complete and the rental agreement is a copy of the one with Paul,” township supervisor Jim Chapman told the council.

The deal is for a 25-year lease of the property for a one-time payment of $3,000.


Originally proposed in July 2021, Chapman said he hoped to have the towers before school started so students would have better internet access, however delays in securing suitable locations for the towers have slowed the process. process.

The initial recommendation included a tower on the township’s park property along the Muskegon River near Old Logging Road and River Road, which would serve the northeast section of the township, and a second tower in the area west of US 131 along 230th Avenue, which would serve the northwest portion.

Plans to place a tower on park property along the Muskegon River were derailed after the township was threatened with lawsuits by a neighboring property owner and plans to place a tower on property along 230th Avenue failed to was unsuccessful, leaving the township to seek alternative properties.

Later plans included areas on private property, and the township had to obtain permission from the owners to proceed.

Funds from American Rescue Plan Act funding were allocated to the project in the amount of $148,000 for the purchase of the towers and installation.

In addition to the delays in securing the location, Chapman said things were a bit over budget compared to what they had set aside from ARPA funding, so the council will likely have to make some adjustments as to where the extra money will come from.

During the meeting, the board also approved a proposed bid by Gerber Construction to install the concrete bases needed for the towers at a cost of $64,000, by a vote of 6 to 1, with trustee Roger Carroll voting no.

Carroll said he was not “100% okay” with taking on more debt than the board had previously discussed and would like to hear options for the additional financing needed before approving the proposal.

“Both of these projects are over budget and we are looking at options to fund them,” Chapman said. “We need to approve it quickly to get into the schedule with Gerber. Nothing can start until the base of the foundation is in place, and I would like that to start.

Chapman said he and township staff will seek additional sources of funding and report the information to council.

BROADBAND POINT PROBLEMS

In other matters, Chapman told council that he sent a letter to Point Broadband, formerly Casair, regarding their recent activity in the township.

In the letter, Chapman says the fiber optic crews currently laying fiber in the township have the neighborhoods “up in arms.”

“Your crews are installing lines in residential areas with no regard for the community,” Chapman said in the letter. “I looked at a site this morning where they ignored 15 feet of open ground and drilled four (residential) lots through the tree clods. They then stepped down for the night after digging a 4ft deep hole in a front yard.

He went on to say that there were torn yards in all four subdivisions, with holes and piles of dirt left everywhere, as well as equipment abandoned overnight in the middle of the lawns.

“Additionally, I’ve been told that when questioned, crews tell angry people that their lack of notice is the fault of the township, as we have been advised,” Chapman said. ” It’s wrong. My last communication with you was last summer when I was told that Point Broadband had no plans to expand fiber or wireless into Green Township for the foreseeable future.

If the company intends to convince residents to ditch Charter/Spectrum for Point Broadband, efforts to retain their goodwill should be high or near the top of the priority list, he said, but they missed the target.

“Obviously you will have significant damage to repair in the spring,” he said.

The township council approved a contract with Point Broadband, authorizing the company to install internet service lines in the township, in March 2021.

The Metropolitan Extension Telecommunications Rights-of-way Oversight Act requires a telecommunications service provider to file a permit application and pay a one-time $500 application fee to each municipality whose boundaries include public rights-of-way whose access or use is sought by the provider.

Additionally, once fully implemented, service providers pay an annual maintenance fee of 5 cents per linear foot of cabling.

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