New Verizon cellphone tower coming soon to Silverthorne area | SummitDaily.com

New Verizon cellphone tower coming soon to Silverthorne area

Verizon Wireless customers should soon experience improved service in northern Silverthorne with a new 4G LTE cellphone tower in the Eagles Nest neighborhood coming online as early as the end of this month.

The Eagles Nest Property Homeowners Association has worked to conceal the tower, and it's difficult to distinguish the 35-foot antenna from the surrounding trees, especially at a distance.

Much like a fake Christmas tree, the tower's protruding arms have been made to resemble the branches and needles of an evergreen, and its base is wrapped in a bark-like covering.

In the same vein, the HOA planted living trees around the tower and in front of a nearby maintenance building that was cut into the hillside and houses all the electrical equipment.

Once operational, the tower will extend Verizon's network in northern Silverthorne, as well as along pieces of Colorado 9 and into the Lower Blue River Valley. Additionally, it should improve reliability in the area surrounding the Eagles Nest neighborhood — especially on the weekends when heavy traffic demands a high volume of data — and reduce the strenuous workload falling on an existing tower near Old Dillon Reservoir.

Verizon and the Eagles Nest HOA have agreed to a 25-year lease for the wireless provider to operate the tower on a hill not far from the Eagles Nest Community Center at 2700 Golden Eagle Road, west of the highway.

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Xcel Energy performed its final inspection earlier this week, and all that's left to do is install the electric meter, said Paul Camillo, co-chair of the Eagles Nest Design Review Committee.

"As soon as they get that, they'll start powering it up trying to bring it online," he said. "Yeah, we're ready to go … we're hoping by the end of the month to get it running."

The new tower comes as great news for first-responders with Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue, who rely on Verizon's technology to save lives. As Verizon was seeking the necessary approvals from Silverthorne Town Council, assistant chief Bruce Farrell submitted a letter of support for the new tower, in which he says he speaks on behalf of the district.

"Our organization is fully supportive of the proposed site and tower," Farrell concluded.

In addition to Verizon smartphones, The Lake Dillon Fire Protection District also utilizes the company's modems to power its emergency crews' mobile-data computers.

The project began in February 2015 when Verizon approached the Eagles Nest HOA after vetting four possible sites and landing on this location. Tower discussions stalled shortly thereafter when an employee with the tower-installation company left the position. However, talks quickly resumed once the position was filled.

The design committee then approved the project and issued a notice to proceed, and town council gave Verizon the go-ahead in September 2016. Verizon obtained the necessary permitting last spring, and construction began in July.

At this point, the tower is all but ready, said George Resseguie, president of the Eagles Nest HOA board, and the remaining work is only cosmetic.

Eagles Nest has about 750 homeowners in the association, he said in estimating that about half have get their wireless services through Verizon.

Still, the project didn't come without a couple early concerns, Resseguie said, most notably that the tower's signals or radio waves could affect nearby residents' health or that it would be obtrusive in the Eagles Nest neighborhood, where luxury homes can sell for as much as $2.5 million.

To get the word out, the HOA hosted two open houses, sent out a handful of email blasts to its members and offered up detailed information at its annual HOA meeting.

The project also had to go through all the town's standard requirements, and with those efforts, Resseguie said they were able to ally most everyone's concerns with factual information.

"We made a great effort to be sure everybody knew everything," the board president said. "And if they had issues, they brought the issues to us, and we all discussed it … people just want to know what's going on. If you keep them in the dark, they get suspicious."

Resseguie said the new tower won't erase every deadspot across Lower Blue River Valley, which is infamous for poor service, dropped calls and dead zones, but it will help.

Tower timeline

February 2015: Discussions for a new cellphone tower at Eagles Nest in northern Silverthorne begin between Verizon and the Eagles Nest Design Review Committee.

March 2015 to December 2016: Project stalls due to personnel changes with Verizon’s site-selection contractor, Black and Veatch. The project resumed after the contract hired a new project acquisition and zoning manager.

September 2016: Silverthorne Town Council gives its approval to build the tower.

March to April 2017: Verizon obtains building permit.

July 2017: Construction begins.

October 2017: Target for tower to go online.

Source: Eagles Nest Property Homeowners Association