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Good old fashioned telephone booths to be taken down in Cleveland

Posted at 5:39 PM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-27 20:49:12-04

When was the last time you used a telephone booth to make a call?

It's probably been awhile. That's why the City of Cleveland has decided to remove more than a thousand of the phones that are not working.

News 5 asked around and most people agree the phone booths should be taken down. Many of them said the last time they used a pay phone was back in the 90's.

“Payphones this day and age, I mean, everybody has cell phones, my 12-year-old has a cell phone, I mean, everyone has cell phones,” said Tariq Jaamey.

But there are still some who see the value in a phone booth.

“If your cell phone dies, or if you're in a situation where you forget it, you lose it, I still think we should have some public phones,” said Debbie Lynch.

The Cleveland City Council said many of the payphones still around simply don't work. Of the five phone booths News 5 checked, only one was working.

The city estimates it would cost about $200,000 to take them down. Councilman Kevin Conwell said the cost stems from handling the concrete and wiring. He said exact costs will not be known until contractors send back bids.

Some council members want to install 911 call boxes to replace payphones, so financially struggling residents will still have a way to call for help. Some residents question whether they're really needed.

“In order to reach family members, a 911 would only take you to police or fire,” said Lynch.

Jaamey jokingly said the only reason to keep phone booths around is if Cleveland got a visit from Clark Kent.

“Unless we're in Metropolis, and we have superman coming or something,” he said.

The city estimates there are 1,700 non-working payphones scattered throughout Cleveland.

Councilman Conwell said the phones should be taken down in Spring of 2018.