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Dayton helps celebrate Ignite building

Gov. Mark Dayton speaks at the Red Wing Ignite open house Tuesday afternoon. (Republican Eagle photo by Danielle Killey)1 / 3
Red Wing Mayor Dan Bender (left) and Gov. Mark Dayton cut the ribbon Tuesday for the Ignite Building on Bush Street. (Republican Eagle photo by Danielle Killey)2 / 3
Developer Joel Ackerman explains HomeStream to a visitor at the Ignite Building on Tuesday. Ackerman is using the high-speed broadband connection in Red Wing to work on his product. (Republican Eagle photo by Danielle Killey)3 / 3

Gov. Mark Dayton resisted owning a computer for as long as he could, he said. But eventually he realized the difference they could make.

Dayton said while he doesn't quite understand the technology behind the high-speed broadband connection available in Red Wing, he knows it is important for jobs and progress.

"This is a critical endeavor you're involved in here," Dayton told the crowd gathered at the Red Wing Ignite open house Tuesday afternoon, adding they are "on the cutting edge of this transformative technology."

Dayton said technological advances and expanded access mean people can do more in their homes, from working to communicating throughout the world.

"That's our future," he said.

He said the increased availability of Internet and cellphone connections also can keep people in rural Minnesota because they can access what they need while living and working in small cities and townships throughout the state.

The areas that have this access have a "huge competitive advantage," he said.

Dayton, state Sen. Matt Schmit and Rep. Tim Kelly joined local officials and residents to celebrate the Ignite Building in Red Wing Tuesday. The Bush Street site serves as an incubator with workspaces, conferences rooms and offices available for technological developers to work on their products.

"The possibilities are endless, but this is where it can happen," Red Wing Ignite executive director Neela Mollgaard said.

The Red Wing Ignite group formed after Red Wing became part of U.S. Ignite, a program that highlights communities that have high-speed broadband connections and encourages development of new applications for the technology.

The program's priorities include education, energy, health, safety, transportation and manufacturing applications.

The test-bed communities have committed to providing gigabit speeds, and Red Wing is working with HBC.

Mollgaard said the community, business partners and city have come together to make the Ignite project and building a reality.

Developer Joel Ackerman, who is working on HomeStream with Ignite, said Red Wing has been a great place to develop his product.

"It takes a community like Red Wing ... to really make this work and make it shine," he said.

HomeStream allows people to experience more from their homes, such as church services, through technology. It eventually could be used for telemedicine and safety applications as well, he said.

"The community is opening the doors or us so that we can have a very successful demonstration program," Ackerman said.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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