T-Mobile bridges gap between technology, oxygen

Note: This column appears in the 5/29 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 5/30 issue of the Peoria Times

Everyday more and more people are moving here, which is good, but also pretty annoying. I can say that because I’ve been here a year now. I have tenure. Developments and strip malls are going up in the blink of an eye, especially in northern Glendale and Peoria, which has more room to build on. The reasons people want to live in this area in the first place -- its openness and serenity and the opportunity it presents to encounter a wild animal that could kill you in like, two seconds -- are being destroyed everyday.

And people are getting upset.

Residents of Vistancia in northwest Peoria are concerned about the APS initiative to place a series of power lines along the northern edge of the development instead of on the originally proposed Route 74. If you’ve never seen a series of power lines before -- and I don’t know why you wouldn’t have -- it’s pretty much like looking at the back of your entertainment center at home, except on a much larger scale, and with the increased risk that they could burst into flames at any second. But other than that, they’re great!


Longtime residents of the area around Pinnacle Peak Rd and 83rd Ave are battling a local developer with intentions to erect an office building on the open land there. This is especially traumatic, because for years local residents had only Campbell’s Mercantile for all of their consumer needs. It has served as their gas station, restaurant, bait supply, post office, concert hall, and local hospital since the days of Lewis and Clark, and now a stupid office building threatens its embraced monopoly.

Many of us feel trapped on that fine line between progression and maintaining the beauty of this area. Sure, being able to see the mountains is great, but being able to get a burrito without driving 18 miles would be cool too. Just when it seemed no compromise could be reached, somebody came up with the right idea.

That somebody was T-Mobile.

Plans have tentatively been accepted for T-Mobile to create a cell phone tower disguised as -- get this -- a palm tree at their new facility on Lake Pleasant Parkway. This is pure genius.

Monopalm = chameleon

Amazingly, these plans are in the works despite the pleas and unbelievably unimaginative alternatives proposed by the Peoria planning board, which suggested that T-Mobile disguise their cell tower as a flagpole instead. Their problem with the palm tree idea was that palm trees are not native to the desert, and that this “monopalm,” as it’s called, would stick out. Of course, this ignores the fact that every new development in the area is lined with beautiful palm trees, and that flagpoles, also, do not grow in the desert. Regardless, it looks like this is going to happen.

And you know what that means? Problem solved. With T-Mobile leading the way, I don’t know why other companies in the area can’t follow suit. Take APS, for example. Why not enclose those new power lines near Vistancia in a giant, plastic mountain? Seems pretty simple to me. Everyone gets their power, but you can still look out your window and enjoy the view. As far as the proposed office building on Pinnacle Peak and 83rd goes, there’s only one solution -- disguise it as Campbell’s Mercantile. A guy goes in for a quart of milk, and bam! -- he’s in a dentist’s office. Might as well get his teeth cleaned.

This is what happens when progress meets compromise. You get a fake palm tree that is actually a cell phone tower. Just how nature intended it. And by “nature” I mean T-Mobile.

So please join me in welcoming the monopalm to the area! Let’s also hope that the monopalm doesn’t look so real that local developers install a drip system near it. That would be bad.



Bill said…
Wow, I had not heard about this! Only a year in, and you are way more in tune with local goings on that I am.

However, a cell tower disguised as a tree, comparatively, really isn't that bad. In New York, a giant bag of empty tomato cans is disguised as former Twins and Cubs relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins.