Safety a priority in possible cell tower on Charlotte County school

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Kristi Gross/WINK

Better cell service, better WiFi and more money for schools.

Those are the benefits Verizon is touting to build a 130-foot-tall monopole cell tower outside L.A. Ainger Middle School, and near Vineland Elementary School in Rotunda West.

But some parents ask at what cost?

“My big concern is the health issues,” said Rotonda West resident Regina Coronite.

Some Charlotte County parents are worried the cell tower may cause caner, or other health issues in students whose brains and bodies are still developing. An online petition is circulating to stop the district from moving forward with the project.

“The safety of our children is first when it comes to something like this,” Coronite said.

If the tower is installed, Verizon would pay the school thousand of dollars per month to lease the space. Leading some neighbors to say put them up.

“Teachers salaries in Florida stink and anyway they can raise money to help the teachers out, I’m all for,” said Rotonda West resident Lee Waters.

The health implications are unclear as it depends on which study you look at: there’s research supporting both sides.

“The main thing is, it’ has to be safe,” Coronite said.

So concerned parents say whatever money the district will make isn’t worth the price of students health.

Collier County has towers on three campuses.

Lee County has eight, which bring in more than 210,000 per year. The district is also adding two more.

A community meeting is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at L.A. Ainger Middle School on 245 Cougar Way in Rotunda West.

For more information, visit the Englewood Center’s website.

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