Cell antenna planned at SPAC
Device to benefit Verizon customers
SARATOGA SPRINGS A second cellphone communications antenna will be erected on the top of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in the Saratoga Spa State Park within the next four months, a state official said Monday.
One 4-foot cellphone antenna already is located atop the SPAC amphitheater, said Randy Simons, a spokesman for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. This antenna provides cellphone coverage for AT&T customers.
He said these antennas are typically 4 feet high and 6 to 8 inches wide.
Another antenna is located on top of an old smokestack in the Spa State Park, behind the Lincoln Baths building on Route 9.
Simons said the cellphone antennas are not “cell towers.” In fact, the smokestack antenna is just a circular band around the top of the stack, he said.
“There are no cell towers in the park,” he said.
Verizon applied to have a second antenna system erected on the SPAC amphitheater to improve its telecommunications in the Saratoga area,
“That one is going up in the first quarter [of 2013] between January and March,” Simons said.
The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which owns the buildings in the park, receives a host benefit for allowing the telecommunications companies to locate an antenna there.
The state has an agreement with a company called Crown Castle, which describes itself as “one of the country’s largest independent owners and operators of shared wireless infrastructure.”
Simons said the state reviews and approves the cell antenna placement, and then Crown Castle works out the details with the customer. Crown Castle’s customers include the country’s major wireless carriers: Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.
The state and Crown Castle typically share the lease revenue from the wireless company. For the new antenna on the amphitheater, the split will be 50-50.
Simons said that by the end of 2013, the state will receive approximately $1 million in annual revenue from telecommunications antenna lease agreements in parks across the state.
Louise Goldstein, co-founder of Save the Victoria Pool Society and a supporter of Save the New York City Ballet movement, said she hasn’t noticed the antenna on top of the amphitheater or on the smokestack at the other end of the state park.
Michael Greenslade, Saratoga Spa State Park manager, said the antenna is attached to the top of the SPAC amphitheater in such a way that it is not easily visible.
“Most people don’t even know they are there. It’s not a big tower,” he said.
Goldstein said she would like revenue generated by the cell antennas to be used to extend the New York City Ballet summer season at SPAC.
The New York City Ballet will perform for only one week next summer rather than the two weeks it has been performing the past four years.
Two other ballet companies, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada, will also perform at SPAC during its 2013 summer season.