SAN ANTONIO – District 7 City Councilman Cris Medina said his office will put pressure on Google Fiber to back off a project to put a Google Fiber hut in Oak Hills Park.
With residents speaking up against the planned location for a prefabricated utility hut, Medina said it would be in Google Fiber's best interest to listen to them.
"If residents aren't happy about the placement, then Google needs to be receptive to that and find another alternate location. Or if in fact that's where it needs to go, then work with the community to find some type of design guidelines," Medina said.
Oak Hills Park is one of 17 city-owned locations across San Antonio that is marked to host one of the huts, which act as main switchboards for the high-speed internet. Five other huts will be located in parks too, according to a list provided by the city.
In a statement, Transportation & Capital Improvements spokeswoman April Alcoser Luna said "Google worked with City staff to evaluate over 100 City owned properties to ultimately recommend 17 hut locations."
Residents in the Oak Hills neighborhood said they didn't have any opportunity to weigh in on the location and were upset to learn a hut might be the first building on the undeveloped park.
"There's not one structure or a monkey bar or a bench or anything," said Jeanne Marie Donaldson. "This is one pristine park in the city, and we don't want an ugly structure."
Neighbors said they have suggestions for alternate locations and would like to work with Google Fiber.
"We are very astute," said Dellamay Moore. "We can propose some options, and we're prepared to do that."
KSAT 12 News asked Google Fiber representatives if the work at Oak Hills Park might come to a halt while residents have a chance to have their say. A Google Fiber spokesperson emailed a statement that read:
“Fiber huts are the nerve centers of our network, filled with sophisticated electronics that enable gigabit internet service to our customers. The huts need to be located reasonably close to the customers they serve. We work with the City to look for sites with minimal impact to neighborhoods and as appropriate we work to provide landscaping around the site to minimize any aesthetic impact from the hut. We explore every opportunity to avoid unnecessary construction, and maintain a construction hotline at 877-454-6959. San Antonio residents can also sign up to receive updates on our overall progress at google.com/fiber/sanantonio."
Map of Google Fiber hut locations: