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Wi-Fi Goes Live in Empire - June 17

Wi-Fi Goes Live in Empire!
News Release
June 17, 2011


Carrie Bourdages,Communications Specialist
Voice: (231) 929-5038

Paul Skinner, Village of Empire Wi-Fi Committee Chair
Voice: (231) 620-1829

Grand Vision Grant Seeds Success Village of Empire Celebrates Wi-Fi

EMPIRE, MI–Village business owners, residents and visitors will enjoy the benefits of the new Internet infrastructure, provided by the Village of Empire, starting next week with a kick off celebration Thursday, June 23 from 1-2 pm at the downtown Empire open space.

Paul Skinner, chairman of the village’s Wi-Fi planning commission, encourages the community to join community leaders to commemorate the milestone for the Village of Empire, Leelanau County, and the Grand Vision efforts.

“Access to global connectivity plays a critical role in the process of placemaking and attracting economic activity to the Village of Empire,” Skinner said. “The potential impacts to the village’s sense of place, and benefits to the local economy through helping business operations and start-ups, as well as the increased connectivity for the tourism industry are very exciting,” he said.

We can’t put a figure on that revenue yet, but we will and we’re certain it will bring the village very positive economic results for the long term, Skinner said.

The Wi-Fi service coverage includes the Village of Empire commercial corridor, which approximately covers the area of West Front Street, bounded east from South Lake Street, west to the junction of West Empire Highway, south from Wilce Street, and Niagara Street to the north. The approximate coverage also includes the area of Village Park, along Lake Michigan Drive, and the west loop of Niagara Street.

The network service rates include one 15-minute complementary service connection each 24-hour period. Available rate options are $3 for one day, $20 for seven days and $30 for 28 days. The village conducted the required state process in order to provide the service as a utility. As part of the necessary business case, revenue is required to sustain the ongoing operation to purchase the access and maintain the equipment and sites.

The start-up costs for the Wi-Fi project were covered by a $20,000 Community Growth Grant Program from the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments. The Community Growth Grant Program is an implementation strategy of the Grand Vision principles that focuses on directing growth and investment to our regional areas that have existing infrastructure in place. These grants, now known as New Designs for Growth, were made possible through a partnership of the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments and the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Details related to the RFP and funding levels of the 2011 New Designs for Growth grant program, available throughout the Grand Vision region, are expected to be available in early July.


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