Fraser Valley rec district looks for clear signal about free TV service
Grand County, CO Colorado
FRASER – The meeting room at Grand Park Community Recreation Center was unusually full Feb. 22, as recreation district residents turned out to express hope that the board will continue to maintain the television antenna that has broadcast a handful of free network stations for the past two decades.
It wasn’t the normally active crowd of rec district users in attendance.
“I don’t play golf. This is the first time I’ve been inside this building. And, I don’t play softball,” said Jay Clough who lives on County Road 5. (The antenna) “is the only thing I use … and I think we should spend the capital.”
Clough argued that the Fraser Valley has many elderly residents living on a fixed income who can’t afford cable or satellite television, and that watching TV is their form of recreation.
“Please let’s see if we can make this happen,” he said.
The rec district board made it clear they are just gathering information and haven’t made any decisions about the future of the antenna, which still transmits an analog signal while most of the world has converted to digital under a federal mandate.
The board is curious how many people are using the signal from the antenna and how much of an investment it should make to keep the signal working.
It could be $80,000 or it could be $200,000, said board president Dan O’Connell.
A survey is available through the district office and on the rec district website, and the board is asking people to please take the time to fill it out and return it.
“This is one service that nobody else in the community provides,” said Melanie Zwick. “Nowhere else can we get this TV service. It’s an important thing that the rec district provides.”
Rec district Assistant Director Susan Cahill said the staff’s best guess based on data that’s been collected over the years is that there are about 75-100 regular users of the antenna.
“This would not be the first capital the rec district put out where only a few people benefited,” noted Marianne Klanke.
The board said it will takes this and any other feedback it receives under advisement.
“When it goes down we’re going to be faced with a pretty major decision,” O’Connell said.
He also thanked the large crowd for attending the hearing, noting that the district board appreciates receiving feedback and direction from the public it serves.
– Reid Armstrong can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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