Friday June 7 12:00am The Town Council approved a resolution this week giving AT&T Wireless the go-ahead to construct a new cellular antenna on top of the water tower on Comstock Road. Approximately 200 feet of the water tower will be leased by the telecommunications company for $ 1,825 a month for an initial term of five years. As the leased space is municipal property, the council's OK will result in a windfall of $ 109,500 for the town over the five-year lease agreement. If the lease is renewed at the initial term's conclusion, the monthly rent will increase by 3 percent at the start of each extension term, according to the lease agreement. The town will start receiving payment once construction on the tower begins, said Town Council President Ronald N. Renaud. Initially, the plan called for AT&T Wireless to begin monthly payments to the town once the antenna had been completed, Renaud said. Wireless technology is increasingly popular, resulting in more cellular antennas being built in order to accommodate the expanding customer base and the growing number of carriers. 137 million wireless users According to the Washington, D.C.-based Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, there now are about 137 million wireless users across the nation. Travis Larson, a spokesman with the association, says that more than 60 new cellular towers are erected each day in the United States. Sometimes this can result in conflict between communities and carriers. In 2000, Sprint Spectrum withdrew its proposal to build a freestanding cellular tower in a wooded area near the Blackstone Gorge, off Harkness Road, after critics, including the Blackstone Valley Heritage Corridor Commission, said the tower's construction would blemish the natural state of the area. Sprint Spectrum decided to build a free-standing cellular tower in a more built-up area of town. In 2001, a tower was built behind the town's police station. Carriers often choose to place antennas on top of water towers. Not only do the water towers provide strong signal transmissions above hills and valleys, but antennas built atop them typically don't result in complaints that they are eyesores, industry experts say. Renaud said yesterday that the recently approved AT&T antenna received no complaints from people in the surrounding neighborhood during the months-long approval process. He said a few town residents have expressed concern at council meetings that corrosion of metals during the welding phase of construction could pollute the tower's water supply. AT&T Wireless has assured us that they will monitor the construction closely, and then do periodic tests to ensure water isn't affected, Renaud said.