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County hoping for better internet access: board briefs

Goodhue County is in the early stages of applying for some state grant funding this year to improve broadband access to unserved and underserved areas.

After meeting with interested parties such as HBC, Dakota Electric, Red Wing Ignite, Goodhue County Cooperative Electric and CEDA, Randy Johnson, IT director, told commissioners March 7 that the process has begun to conduct a plan for improved broadband service that meets a prescribed standard.

As of now, state legislature would have to approve a grant covering 50 percent of the funds before the county could provide additional funding.

"We don't even know if the money is there or if it's going to be there, but we believe there will be some funds," Johnson said. "Because of that we're going to keep pushing ahead. By starting now we'll be ahead of the game."

Five-year construction plan needs revision

While construction season may not be underway just yet, Public Works Director Greg Isakson wants to ensure the County Board is aware of late starts and projects continuing into next year.

The proposed revision mentioned two small projects, one on County Road 10, another along section County Road 5, and will be combined to attract better bid prices, instead of having the two projects completed in separate years. "Hopefully we'll get more work done quicker at a better price," Isakson said.

The project will handle traffic mainly in Cannon Falls, with hopes to help the city grow quicker.

"You have to think, where's the growth happening," Commissioner Brad Anderson said. "It makes all the sense in the world to be ahead of that curve instead of behind it."

The board unanimously approved revising the highway construction program.

Meeting watch

Tuesday's County Board lasted 26 minutes. All five commissioners were present.

— compiled by Kit Murray, staff writer

Kit Murray

Kit Murray joined Red Wing Republican Eagle in Aug. 2016, covering government, transportation and public safety. She is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead with a degree in photojournalism and philosophy. 

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