People opposing Google Fiber huts in parks to speak up at meeting

6 out of 17 recommended huts in San Antonio parks

SAN ANTONIO – Bringing faster internet to San Antonio is still stirring up a debate. On Wednesday, neighbors opposing Google Fiber telecommunication buildings will finally get their chance to speak up.

In August and November, KSAT reported part of the incoming Google Fiber infrastructure involves installing telecommunication huts around the city. Many people said those huts don't belong in parks.

Haskin Park on the Northeast Side of town in District 10 is small, but it's important to its community members.

In August, neighbors like John Whitsett were upset to find a Google Fiber telecommunications hut being installed in the middle of the park.

"Normally in this process the developers are required to notify neighborhoods," Whitsett said.

Whitsett said the hut has affected his community in many ways.

"T-ball, soccer. The neighbors over here, they're homeowners that their view is now of an industrial building and a fence. The commercial air-conditioning units are going to run 24 hours a day mostly," Whitsett said.

Out of the 17 hut sites recommended by the city's Transportation and Capital Improvements Department, six are in parks. Huts have already been built in two parks: Haskin and West End.

"We've met with city staff at different times and told them we don't want it. We want it out of here. It's not appropriate. They have said, basically, 'Tough luck. We're going to do it. It's our park,'" Whitsett said.

On Wednesday, Whitsett and other concerned people will speak at their first public meeting. The Historic and Design Review Commission will be looking at requests from Google Fiber Texas for fencing and landscaping around the existing huts.

"We really are calling for them to table it completely and sit down and do something different," Whitsett said.

Neighborhood leaders near Oak Hills and Highland Park also oppose the huts and will join Whitsett at the meeting. Huts have not yet been installed at those locations.

Monday's case for Haskin Park proposes a fence to surround the Google Fiber hut, but Whitsett correctly pointed out a fence has already been built. Whitsett plans to ask for clarification about that at the meeting.

About the Author:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.