A demolition crew from Midwest Wrecking Company begins the process of removing bricks from the outer skin of the Roos building July 29.GRAHAM JOHNSON/Staff

There hasn’t been a tenant in the Roos building for more than five years, but the 10-story tower on the old factory has still been a business concern. Cell phone and internet broadcasting companies have leased the tower for years as a spot to install their network devices.

Now the building is coming down, and Internet and cell providers are scrambling to find a new place to put their transmitters.

In the beginning of July CLEARwire Communications customers got a letter warning they might have internet problems later in the month.

“You may experience slower internet speeds, internet connection difficulties, and/or a complete loss of internet service,” according to an email sent to customers.

“This is the unfortunate result of the unforeseen demolition of a nearby building on which CLEAR has installed one of its network towers,” the letter continued.

CLEAR equipment is still on the tower, said Park District of Forest Park Director Larry Piekarz.

“As of today they’ve still got their equipment up there and it’s working,” Piekarz said. The CLEAR company is acquiring permits to remove the equipment within the next few days, Piekarz added.

CLEAR spokesman Christopher Comes said the company is hoping to remove the equipment in the next week, before the building is demolished.

“CLEARwire is committed to restoring Internet service to the impacted customers in the Forest Park area as soon as reasonably practicable,” Comes said in a company statement. He said CLEAR would be looking for a new site and increasing surrounding signals to compensate.

Some Sprint customers are also feeling the pain.

Sprint removed their broadcasting equipment earlier this month, Piekarz said.

A Sprint spokeswoman says they’ve boosted neighboring cell signals to cover the missing Roos building equipment.

“Our engineers have enhanced the coverage at surrounding cell sites to fill in the gap that around the cell site,” said Sprint’s Kathleen Dunleavy.

“We’ve been seeing performance at acceptable level for most of our customers,” she added.

But anecdotally, some Forest Parkers are experiencing cell phone issues.

Piekarz said the Sprint cell phones used by staff at the Park were acting temperamental.

“The phones will suddenly say ‘call failed,'” Piekarz said.

Part-time Forest Park Review staff member Maria Murzyn, of the 800 block of Ferdinand, has been having phone problems since Friday.

“Since Friday I couldn’t make or receive [cellular] phone calls,” she said. Murzyn said she has an iPhone 4 that works better when she’s out of Forest Park.

“The few calls I’ve [successfully] made have sent me to a robot message asking me to input my password for roaming. Or they drop within 30 seconds,” she added.

Sprint’s Dunleavy said the company has signed a lease in a Forest Park location to build a new tower. The address of the new tower was not immediately available.

Meanwhile, Murzyn said the cell phone firm said they would send her a “boosting” device in seven-to-10 days. Sprint has also offered her a discount on her bill for the next two months.

“I have to go out to the alley [to make a call], which sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t,” Murzyn said.

Roos demolition begins


Midwest Wrecking Company of Chicago began dismantling the north end of the Roos Monday, using a blue crane to remove the outer layer of brickwork from the area closest to the CSX railroad tracks.


On Thursday at the Park Board meeting, a decision will be made to accept a bid to demolish the remaining section of the building. Demolition should begin August 2, Larry Piekarz told the board. The building has been under emergency demolition orders from the Village of Forest Park since part of a north wall collapsed during a June storm.

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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