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Change in status of State Street could block future cell towers

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The dispute over putting a 23-foot cell phone tower in Riverside Park could lead to a change in status for the far west end of State Street in La Crosse.

Renderings of the cell phone tower Verizon submitted to La Crosse’s Board of Public Works back in June of 2021.

The Board of Public Works approved, Monday, a resolution to vacate the portion of State Street west of Front Street, which makes up the main entrance to the park.

The proposal would make that block of the street park property, instead of part of a public street. That would give the city more power over possible changes to the park entrance.

The resolution follows Verizon’s decision to install a cell tower close to the Eagle sculpture site. Because that block is currently part of a public street, the city could not stop the plan.

Chris Kahlow on the board, said the city would have more say over that entrance under the new plan.

A report on the proposal says the city would be able to regulate future towers in the park “without federal pre-emption,” which allows Verizon to go ahead with its tower.

The proposed pole would be designed to resemble a street lamp, like the one below.

Example of the 30-foot cell phone tower submitted by Verizon to La Crosse’s Board of Public Works in June of 2021.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.