Paw Paw petitions for cell coverage
Paw Paw Mayor Julie Kidwell is asking residents and commuters in the Paw Paw area to band together and request better cellular phone coverage.
Kidwell has created a petition to send to cellular companies. She is encouraging anyone who lives, travels, works or shops in the extended Paw Paw area to fill out the petition and send it to Paw Paw Town Hall or directly to their cellular phone company.
She hopes motorists and commuters who regularly use Rt. 9, Rt. 29, Rt. 127 and Maryland Rt. 51 in the Paw Paw area will also join in the effort.
Some 400 petitions have been received so far, she said. The petitions were originally sent out with the town water bills.
Cell phone coverage is spotty after leaving Berkeley Springs and heading west on Rt. 9, Kidwell said. Coverage is basically non-existent in much of the western part of Morgan County and beyond, she said.
Cellular companies have been reluctant to invest in more cellular towers to increase cell coverage in the area since the 2000 census lists the Paw Paw population as just 524 people.
Cell companies do not consider extended population numbers for outlying areas and subdivisions or commuter traffic, Kidwell said.
Information packets will be sent to all cellular companies that service the area. The two largest are Cellular One and Nextel, said Kidwell.
Packets will include copies of the petition letters and commuter and labor force data for people working in Cumberland or Winchester.
The packets will also include traffic count results from a study in 2005 that showed 2,400 people traveling through Paw Paw daily.
Some 2,664 households were counted within a 25-mile radius of Paw Paw, Kidwell said.
Communities included in the count were Pin Oak, Bloomery, Great Cacapon, Slanesville, Green Spring, Pin Oak, Woodrow, Oldtown, Largent, Points, Picardy and Levels.
Kidwell is emphasizing to cellular companies that the area is within 500 miles of two-thirds of the population of the United States and within 250 miles of all mid-Atlantic metropolitan markets.
Petitions may be mailed to: Town of Paw Paw, Attention: Cell Phones, P.O. Box 35, Paw Paw, WV 25434.
They may also be emailed to Paw Paw@frontiernet.net, or cell phone customers may send them directly to their cellular companies.