Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Group lobbies for broadband expansion

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 6/21/2013

The lack of fast and reliable broadband service in the Northeast Ottawa Industrial Park has been a detriment to growth, one local economic development official said.

Being able to provide businesses with broadband service is critical to recruitment, Jeff Seymour, Franklin County Development Council executive director, told Ottawa city commissioners Wednesday.

The lack of fast and reliable broadband service in the Northeast Ottawa Industrial Park has been a detriment to growth, one local economic development official said.

Being able to provide businesses with broadband service is critical to recruitment, Jeff Seymour, Franklin County Development Council executive director, told Ottawa city commissioners Wednesday.

The City of Ottawa is planning to expand its municipally owned fiber-optic broadband infrastructure in the industrial park with the aid of a seven-year, $30,000 loan via the East Central Kansas Rural Development Tax Credit program.

In late 2012, the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce and the Franklin County Development Council facilitated the sale of $42,000 in rural business tax credits made available to the East Central Kansas tax credit program by the State of Kansas, Seymour said in a memo to the city. The tax credit program, which serves Franklin and several surrounding counties, is designed to help fund future economic development projects throughout the region, Seymour said.

On May 30, the East Central Kansas Rural Development board approved the City of Ottawa’s loan request, Seymour said.

Seymour credited John Coen, Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer, with helping facilitate the sale of the tax credits, and Richard Nienstedt, city manager, and Bob Bezek, city attorney, with their assistance in crafting the loan agreement.

City commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the loan agreement Wednesday, which is to be paid back to the East Central Kansas tax credit program in monthly installments at 2.25 percent interest.

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