CLEARLAKE OAKS, Calif. – The effort to bring a cell phone tower to the Spring Valley community is getting closer to completion.
Spring Valley resident Bob Hendrickson, who also chairs the community's safety committee and is on the advisory board for County Service Area No. 2 – which covers the Spring Valley Lakes subdivision – has been one of the people helping move the cell tower forward.
He told Lake County News that the new tower is about to be installed by Verizon.
The 4G cell tower, which is being designed to look like a water tower, is to be located at 2589 Indian Hill Road.
While it’s a Verizon project, it will use some AT&T phone lines, Hendrickson said.
Following a failed effort about a decade ago, the push to get a cell tower gained ground after the 2012 Walker and Wye fires.
The fires, located east of Clearlake Oaks, damaged phone lines to the community.
First responders reported that during that incident – as well as in other cases where they’ve responded to the Spring Valley area – they were challenged by a lack of cell coverage.
The result was that Northshore Fire, Cal Fire, Lake County Fire and county Supervisor Denise Rushing joined forces with residents to get the project on track.
A community meeting and vote of Spring Valley's residents were held earlier this year, as Lake County News has reported.
Hendrickson said 98 percent of the community – which includes about 900 property owners – was in favor of the project.
“It was really remarkable how few people voted against it,” he said.
At the February community town hall meeting, a Verizon representative had reported that the goal was to have the tower completed by August at the latest.
However, work to construct the tower began later, with the digging of the foundation starting on Oct. 22, Hendrickson said.
About two weeks ago the foundation was poured, with Hendrickson noting that the process used a lot of concrete.
Hendrickson said the foundation is now in place, and the electrical and electronic work is done.
He's anticipating that the tower will arrive and be craned into place early next week, at which point the Verizon crew will install the microwave antenna.
Once the tower is installed, Hendrickson said it's expected that Verizon will be able to offer a more accurate estimate of when the project may be completed.
Hendrickson said he anticipates that Spring Valley's residents will be able to make cell phone calls by the end of January.
While Hendrickson is looking forward to the project's completion, he noted, “One isolated cell tower doesn't mean you're suddenly going to have super duper cell service.”
He said more cell towers will be needed to improve the services to Spring Valley, and officials have reported that Spring Valley's tower is part of a larger plan to increase cell phone service all along the Highway 20 corridor.
With the cell tower project nearing completion, Hendrickson said the community's next big project is working with the county of Lake to establish a community emergency response team.
So far, 25 Spring Valley residents have indicated a desire to get involved, which includes becoming certified following a training set to begin in January.
He said Lake County Office of Emergency Services Manager Marisa Chilafoe has acquired the money for training and other needs for the group.
“It's an exciting project to get going,” he said.
Email Elizabeth Larson at [email protected] . Follow her on Twitter, @ERLarson, or Lake County News, @LakeCoNews.