NASHVILLE, Ill. — The owner of a popular petting zoo is fighting a proposal that would put a cell phone tower roughly 350 feet tall next to his family farm.
If you head west on Route 15 out of Nashville, Illinois, you’ll find one of the country’s oldest working farms.
“The farm has been here 172 years,” said Alan Blumhorst. “A couple of years back we were designated the 83rd oldest family-owned business in the nation.”
Over the last 20 years, Alan Blumhorst has worked to reshape his family farm into Rainbow Ranch.
“It means everything,” said Blumhorst. “The love of my animals and sharing these critters with everybody is my job. I’ve got the best job in the world. I sell smiles.”
Now Blumhorst is concerned that his way of life is being threatened by a multi-billion dollar company.
“It’s going to ruin the pastoral setting with the aesthetics of a giant cell phone tower, half the size of the arch, right across the road,” said Blumhorst. “That’s all we’re going to see.”
An old county ordinance put a stop to AT&T’s original bid in October, but that didn’t stop AT&T.
“Their lawyers contacted the county board and said the ordinance was out of date,” said Blumhorst. “We have to change the ordinance, and update it, or else they’ll sue.”
Blumhorst understands the purpose of the proposed tower is to extend service in the rural area of western Washington County.
“It’s not that we’re against cell phone towers,” said Blumhorst. “Everybody loves their cell phone, but we don’t want it right across the road when there are thousands of other acres they can put it on.”
That’s why he’s asking AT&T, and the county board, to consider other sites.
“If you want a cell phone tower put it in your front yard not my front yard,” said Blumhorst.
If you would like to weigh in on the proposed cell tower site, the Washington County Zoning Board will be holding a special hearing Thursday, Jan. 27, at 7:30 p.m.