BOSTON TOWNSHIP, Ohio– Renay Sanders and her husband, Dave Callaway, have enjoyed the property they have called home for the past 33 years.
Their house, built in 1852, overlooks the Cuyahoga Valley National Park a short distance south of Boston Mills Ski Resort. From their front porch, they can enjoy the natural scenery to which thousands escape the city each year.
“We love living here because one it is in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and we have all access to the towpath and lots of nature, which we both love,” Sanders said.
“The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad runs right past our house, the river you can see it from our front porch,” Callaway said.
Just to the north, contractors are finishing a new park visitor center, which will include modern amenities including fiber optic cable and Internet. The couple said the upgrades to the park threaten to come at a cost to them.
Callaway said he awoke on Monday to find contractors in his front yard digging a ditch.
When he asked what they were doing, they explained that they were installing a large transformer box in his yard to service the new fiber optics.
“They just explained that they had this work order and I said, ‘Did it have to be here? Why in this spot?’ And I explained to them that there’s hundreds of acres of open land that has public access,” Callaway said.
Callaway and Sanders said there are so few private homeowners there that they have never been able to get the cable service for themselves. They insist the large transformer cabinet be put on park property instead.
“They said, ‘The work order says here.’ And I said no. I’m absolutely against this and that’s when I called our trustee for the township,” Callaway said.
Their trustee, Amy Anderson, lives just two houses away.
She said she had no idea what the cable company was planning until contractors showed up on Monday morning.
Anderson said 85 percent of the property in Boston Township is owned by the park and, with so little of the land belonging to private land owners, there has to be another option.
“I showed them a place on the other side of the bridge I thought that would be OK. He said that wouldn’t work, there’s one just up the street but it is too close to the road,” Anderson said.
Anderson said she immediately shared her concerns with the park conservancy, which is paying for the project. FOX 8 reached out to the conservancy, which is aware of the concerns and attempting to see if there are other options.
Ultimately what happens could be up to the cable company and what they can or cannot do.
FOX 8 also reached out to the cable company. A company spokesperson responded by email saying, “I’m digging into this.”
In the meantime, work at Callaway and Sanders, property has been paused while the parties involved search for a resolution.
“The gentleman who stopped here today (Tuesday) was very kind. He said he’s looking for options but he wasn’t very hopeful it could happen,” Anderson said.
“I have no problem with them (the park) having that access, but not at my expense, not in my yard when they’ve got acres and acres of property,” Sanders said.