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Port authority exploring prospects for broadband in Monroe

The next steps for high-speed internet access in Monroe County are on the horizon, in addition to the economic activity the county’s port authority is boasting already from its Powhatan No. 7 development site.

“These are two separate projects,” said Jason Hammon, the county’s port authority director. “So the grant funding that was awarded, the nearly $3 million, that was to go towards building an industrial access road and repairing the existing barge cells at the Powhatan No. 7 property.”

But on Wednesday, a special meeting of the port authority will focus on broadband tower projects also in the works.

“Separately we’re working to build four wireless broadband towers in the county,” Hammon said. “So we recently sent out RFPs to engineering firms that would do the site design for the tower locations, that’s one of the agenda items for the special board meeting is to review those proposals.”

This is the next step in an effort to seek federal funding to build the towers, one which requires the design specifications to better identify the price tag.

“We’re seeking grant funding for the broadband power construction project. But having the site design and construction costs, those are all sort of prerequisites to apply for the grant funding that we’re going after,” he said .

Hammon explained that the county is building its applications for both Appalachian Regional Commission POWER grant funding and funding through the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The special meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. at the Woodsfield Municipal Building.

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