Telephone poles at center of concern

 

Telephone poles at center of concern

 

Date: June 30, 2011
by: Robin Roy | City Editor

 
 

Golden Gate Point residents have spent about $4 million during the past two years to beautify their neighborhood.

Streets are now covered with brick pavers and lined with fresh, colorful landscaping.

But in the center island of the community, a trail of old, sawed-off telephone poles remains, and the residents want to know why.

“This is the last piece that we can’t finish,” said Denise Watermeier, president of the Golden Gate Point Association.

A major part of the improvement project was placing all utilities underground.

Verizon had installed its Fios fiber lines for phone, cable TV and Internet services.

When the project began about two years ago, the company informed all property owners that they would have to agree to switch to the new service, but it would be free to do so.

All but 12 property owners agreed to the change.

Those same 12 have still not given their consent, so the telephone poles remain standing.

Actually, only half-poles remain.

After Florida Power and Light put its wires underground, it removed its equipment from the top of the poles and sawed off the top halves.

Watermeier suspects that the holdouts are either seasonal residents, renters or absentee owners.

She said she spoke to a Verizon representative last month who said the company would not contact the 12 property owners again and told her that it will wait until those people request the new service.

But when the Sarasota Observer contacted Verizon June 28, spokesman Harry Mitchell said that within two weeks, those 12 property owners will once again be contacted.

“Any customers who remain on copper (wires) after this effort, we will place the copper service for those remaining customers underground,” Mitchell said. “We will then be in a position to remove the poles in question.”

Brent Parker, a resident who was instrumental in implementing the neighborhood improvements, voiced pleasure with that news.

“That’s excellent,” he said. “The association will be delighted.”

Contact Robin Roy at rroy@yourobserver.com.

 

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