June 16, 2023 at 10:33 a.m.
Midco broadband build-out gets boost
The City of Wyoming and Chisago Lake Township were granted funds last week from the county’s $10.9 million total Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery (ARPA) monies to enhance Internet in those two areas.
The County Board did a study of fiber and wireless internet providers, discussed the present condition of the system throughout the whole county and set aside $2 million for an application process to respond to requests for financial help to enhance broadband. Government units and their staff were notified of the availability of the funds.
Wyoming is getting $60,300 and the goal is to blend this with internet company and city contributions to improve service in the area of Highway 8, along 250th, Heath, Hazel and Hamlet Avenues.
Midco is contributing $99,000 in this Wyoming effort and the city has committed $6,700 from its ARPA funding. The estimate from Midco is that 57 “passings” can be accomplished (theoretically connecting 57 customers when they subscribe.)
Chisago Lake Township requested $171,000. The township can reach 110 customer sites through this project. The fiber installation is south of Chisago Lake, on Maxwell Road to existing Midco service area.
These projects are fiber to premises. Both Wyoming and the township are scheduled to be completed in 2023.
Midco was represented by Melissa Wolf, Government Relations Manager, who added that Chisago City has been in discussion with Midco on Internet projects for parcels close to Highway 8, but Chisago City is holding off until the timeframe and work schedule for the major highway improvements is better defined.
Wolf reminded the county commissioners that installation is subject to weather and crews can not work year-round.
Midco has also been doing work in this county using RDOF (federal) monies but Wolf assured the County Board; the two grants being awarded last week would have no impact (either slowing or speeding up) on the rural federal installations already scheduled. The RDOF award of $1.1 million is slated for crews deployed in 2025 yet.
In other matters: The Board also approved requests for tax forfeit parcels to go to government units, including the two parcels North Branch City sought in the northwest corner of the freeway interchange.
Juneteenth is an official holiday and commissioners were reminded per statute there can be no government business on this day. The Government Center is closed June 19.
A thank you was approved to be sent to Frank Storm of Rush City, for his years of public service. He stepped down from his spot on the park board. There is a vacancy now and if you are interested in serving contact County Commissioner for the Fifth District Dan Dahlberg.