Dubuque to begin lamp-post replacement project to improve cell phone, broadband signal

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The city of Dubuque is prepared to begin a project to improve cell phone signal across the city. The first location that was approved as of Tuesday is at the intersection of Pennsylvania Ave. and Embassy West Dr.

A lamp post at the intersection of Embassy West Dr. and Pennsylvania Ave. will soon be replaced by a new one with an antenna on top.

The city of Dubuque along with Southwestco Wireless, Inc. (doing business as Verizon Wireless) has been working together to enhance the broadband and cell signal across the city. The idea was presented to the city council back in March.

The initial plan is to replace one of the current lamp posts with a new street lamp, that would have an antenna on the top of it. It would also have room below the lamp where the city could attach cameras.

"I think what we're trying to do is through a variety of mechanisms, wired and wireless, give the maximum amount of coverage to the people that need it, in the places that they need it," said Chris Kohlmann, Information Services Manager for the City of Dubuque.

Kohlmann explained the reason why the city felt this was a smart decision, was because they want Dubuque to continue to grow as a desirable place for residents and businesses.

"Broadband has become one of the major decision makers about where I'm going to live, where I'm going to work," Kohlmann said. "As part of a big picture strategy in terms of where do I have those best resources, this is going to play into that."

The city council held a public input session on the topic to hear comments and concerns- but no one showed up.

Some neighbors said they were not aware the project existed- and now, they are concerned.

"We do not need it right on another corner with Embassy West and Pennsylvania Ave. being so congested as it is right now," said Joan Miller, who has lived in the neighborhood near the intersection the past 25 years.

"I wasn't aware of the project that's going up just up the hill from us," said Lori Kramer, who has lived in the nearby neighborhood for 30 years. "And I really wish that I would be better informed."

"The only thing I have concerns is regarding safety and having any area that's blocking vision," Kramer said.

Now neighbors are saying if they even knew about the project, they would stand firm against it.

"I would have been there... and I [would have] had all the tenants behind me," Miller said.

Kohlmann said there is no timetable on when exactly construction will begin, but they are planning to start as soon as possible.