In response to a June 12 Leader article, AT&T representatives have contacted the Leader and the City of Oakdale and advised them that they will be changing the color of the recently constructed lime green faux water tank cell phone tower.
“At AT&T, we work closely with communities all across California and we take community concerns very seriously,” said AT&T San Francisco Public Affairs Manager Alexandra Krasov. “Our customers and employees live in Oakdale, so we certainly understand that this structure is an important part of the community.”
The June 12 article highlighted the criticism from the community, including that the colors chosen, a pale green and yellow, were similar to the rival Sonora Wildcats to the east, and not the colors of the town’s own red and gold Oakdale Mustangs.
Others commented that the lime green was an eyesore and contrasted with the backdrop of the A. L. Gilbert Company’s nearby red buildings.
Krasov also apologized for the comments made by AT&T Media Manager Charles Bassett on June 11 in which he referred to inquiries about the tower color as being “a joke.”
“We work across the state to build proper infrastructure for our wireless communications,” Krasov said. “We strive for the community to accept the look and feel of the structures to be part of the landscape.”
According to Krasov, the original light green color was chosen from a series of photo simulations and the city planning department had signed off on the chosen color last year.
“With the negative reaction, we’re concerned with addressing community concerns,” Krasov said. “We are now working with the City of Oakdale to address community concerns about the color of the water tower, and we look forward to resolving the issue and providing Oakdale residents with the best possible wireless service.”
“I really appreciate AT&T’s willingness to work with us to get this resolved,” said Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer. “I believe they (AT&T) are sincere and want to have a visual landmark that the city can be proud of.”
At the June 17 Oakdale City Council meeting Whitemyer showed various renditions for revising the tower, with different designs including logos of Oakdale High School.
Council members, divided between colors, the city name to introduce to people entering the city or the Mustang logo for pride of their high school, decided to compromise to a red color with “Welcome to Oakdale” on the north side of the tower and the Oakdale Mustangs – “OM” – logo on the south.
“If you don’t know you’re in Oakdale and need a water tower to tell you, you’re in big trouble,” said Councilman Tom Dunlop in defending his choice for the high school logo.