Mayor would like to bring new fiber optics line to Morenci 05.19.10

Written by David Green.

Morenci mayor Keith Pennington is hoping that federal money dedicated for bringing high speed internet service to rural areas might benefit Morenci.

Pennington and city council member Joe Varga spoke to Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce members last week about a $41.6 million project that will link Monroe and Hillsdale with a fiber optic cable.

The line will pass through Adrian, Varga said, and serve the colleges and community colleges between Monroe and Hillsdale. Spurs off the main line will also connect with several municipal offices.

The line is being built by Merit Network of Ann Arbor along with four internet providers, including Adrian-based TC3net.

Instead of passing through copper lines, data moves much faster through the fiber optic cable, Pennington said. Enormous amounts of data flow are possible, he said, and security improves.

The main east/west line will be largely funded through a $33 million federal grant and Pennington thinks funding opportunities may exist to bring a line south into Morenci.

A 13-mile line to the city’s industrial park would cost $330,000, Pennington said, and the city wouldn’t be able to tackle the cost of the project on its own.

Chamber of Commerce president Brad Frederick said that it’s good to be ahead of the curve and investigate the possibility before the main line is laid. The cost would increase significantly if the spur were created later.

Pennington said that fiber optics could lead to many labor-saving moves for city workers, such as remote water meter readings.

“There are probably more benefits than we can think of,” he said.

Varga said he’s also spoken to TC3net about bringing WiFi internet to the city, possibly through an antenna. WiFi zones could be created for public use, such as in a spot downtown or in a park.

“We don’t know what businesses are doing now,” Pennington said. “Would it be a benefit to businesses to offer this or is it just a service that a modern community offers to visitors?”

Varga said he’s been told that WiFi availability is like a magnet for communities.

Chamber members voted to provide a letter of support for city council’s efforts to attract high speed internet service.

  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
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  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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