GREEN BAY – While parishioners of St. Joseph Church on 12th Ave. in Green Bay prayed inside Sunday morning, a small gathering, armed with signs, held vigil outside. They were neighbors of the church not happy with plans for AT&T to put up a cell phone tower on church property.
“We’re not fighting the church, we’re fighting the fact the cell tower is going to be on a playground around all the neighbors who could be affected by this,” said Kay Gallagher, one of the organizers of the protest.
Gallagher and the other protesters are worried about potential health hazards a cell tower might create. They also worry about what it could do to property values.
“The property values have shown to go down,” said Gallagher.
Gallagher is among neighbors within 300 feet of the church who were invited to an informational meeting on the proposed project last month. The church stands to generate thousands of dollars every year from AT&T by allowing it to build a cellphone tower.
“If we want to look at longevity of this church, yes I think we’re going to need a tower, because let’s face it, the congregation is getting older, less income coming in,” said parishioner Tom Enneper who supports the deal with AT&T.
Parishioners last month attended their own meeting with AT&T and learned the tower would be incorporated into the design of the church in the form of a steeple.
Church members could not provide a rendering of the tower addition, but they indicated it would be added to the back of the church. Specific dimensions were not discussed.
“I really haven’t heard too much info about it,” said neighbor Leon Kanugh.
Some area residents FOX 11 contacted said they didn’t know enough about the project. And that’s why the picketers were out to raise awareness.
But ultimately, some neighbors acknowledged, it’s up to the church to decide.
“It’s up to them. I mean, if they’re going to make money off it, it’s what they want to do, can’t say much else,” said Jerry Close, church neighbor.
Church officials were not available to talk about when or if the deal will be approved.