Proposed Cell Tower Creates Worry in Trivoli

The airport has been in Trivoli for 48 years

TRIVOLI - Better cell service might create big problems for pilots in Trivoli.

"That airport has been there for a safety landing spot for aircraft that are compromised, or maybe a pilot had a heart attack or something,” said Peoria County Board member, Brad Harding.

AT&T plans to use a close by field for a 255 foot cell tower, that’s taller than most in the area, but it comes with a problem.

It's less than a mile from Gordon Brown Private Airport, where planes fly at a maximum height of 800 feet. 

"If a plane hits this tower, that plane could go down in 100 feet or it could go down two miles, an injured aircraft, you never know where it's going to land,” Harding said.

Peoria County board members heard the debate last week and voted it down 10 to 4, despite passing both the zoning board of appeals and land use commission. The big reason for many was safety.

"We're not opposed to the cell tower; this is about location, location, location. This area is smack dab in the flight path,” Harding said.

You can see the airport from the site of the proposed tower. Some say a perfect solution would be pitting it closer to town instead would better.  

"If they insist on being here, I believe that the will of the Peoria County Board has spoken loudly and will support that,” Harding said.

In a statement AT&T said “in this case, based on our analysis of customer needs, we believe the location we proposed is the best to strengthen service to our customers in the Trivoli area. We expect the FAA to finalize its review of this proposed site."

"This airport is a safety valve for the Greater Peoria Airport,” Harding said.

We spoke with dozens of neighbor’s off-camera who say they hope safety remains a priority.

"We want it safe for pilots and aircraft coming in and out of the area and this cell tower will interrupt that safety,” Harding said.

One neighbor who wouldn't talk on camera told us she's more worried about trees near the airport instead of a cell tower.

The FAA and FCC are both reviewing the site.

Here’s the full statement from AT&T:

“AT&T continues investing to strengthen our wireless network for our customers everywhere, including sites near aviation facilities in Illinois and throughout the country.  In this case, based on our analysis of customer needs, we believe the location we proposed is the best to strengthen service to our customers in the Trivoli area. We expect the FAA to finalize its review of this proposed site.” 


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