The Public Safety and Licensing Committee voted in favor of allowing the cell phone company to consider a tower, which could end up bringing money into the city's coffers.
US Cellular is at least the third company to consider a tower in the park. Parks Director Donnie Snow said it was unclear why the last two requests fell through. One complication is the park is built on a former landfill, which requires extensive footings for any new tower.
Alderman Jim Kaplan, citing the lease payments US Cellular would pay for the site, said he hopes this tower goes through.
"I hope one of these will stick," he said about the cell phone tower. "It'll bring in some income for the city by granting them to right to build there."
But while US Cellular may study the site, the city isn't allowed to study US Cellular - or at least the health effects of its towers.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 prohibits local governments from regulating cellular towers based on environmental and health effects. It's actually illegal for the city to even take public comments on the potential health hazards of cell phone towers.
Some are beginning to question the law, possibly with good reason (or maybe not). Los Angeles and Portland have passed ordinances opposing the 1996 law, and other cities around the country seem to be ignoring it.
Alderman David Maack, who went through a big fight over a cell phone tower at the Racine Zoo, asked Snow Monday night about the process the city would follow if the tower moves forward.
Snow said it would be similar to the past with an opportunity for public input and further review by the city. Monday night's vote didn't mean the committee was supporting the tower, he said.
"This does not commit the city to anything," Snow said.
The proposal to allow US Cellular to study building a tower in Lockwood Park now moves to the City Council for final approval. The council is next scheduled to meet Feb. 16.