Some in Denver’s Virginia Village neighborhood fighting construction of cell tower

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DENVER -- Denver's Virginia Village neighborhood is in the middle of a controversy about a new cell tower that's being built on the lot of a church.

The tower is being erected by the Salem United Church of Christ, at the corner of Florida Avenue and South Grape Street.

Many neighbors tell the FOX31 Problem Solvers it's an eyesore and are now collecting signatures to have it removed.

"I was pretty shocked," said Lisa Merenius. "I had quite a mix of emotions, none of which were positive, when I learned -- that a stone’s throw from my home of 10 years where I have my family -- that it was going to be a cell tower."

The tower belongs to Verizon, which said it's needed because of a growing demand for cell service in the area, where more than 50 percent of homes do not have a landline.

"We are focused on delivering the best network performance possible for our customers while designing facilities that aesthetically blend into the neighborhood," Verizon said in a statement. "We comply fully with all zoning and permitting requirements."

The finished tower is set to blend in with the church's facade.

"So it’s not going to be big pipes sitting up in the neighborhood as something ugly," said Judy Gilman, who understands both sides of the debate, but doesn't mind the tower.

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