Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Ely Area Broadband Coalition submits grant projects

Keith Vandervort
Posted 1/10/19

ELY – The Ely Area Broadband Coalition met recently to explore options for spending $50,000 in grant funds from the Blandin Foundation as plans continue to develop a high-speed Internet network in …

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Ely Area Broadband Coalition submits grant projects

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ELY – The Ely Area Broadband Coalition met recently to explore options for spending $50,000 in grant funds from the Blandin Foundation as plans continue to develop a high-speed Internet network in the downtown business core.

“We are in the running for additional funding,” Clerk-Treasurer Harold Langowski told city council members last week, “and we had three different groups propose projects, including Hak Ely, Ten Below, in collaboration with Incredible Ely, and Arts in Ely.”

Langowski explained the projects that were to be submitted on Jan. 4. “For this round of $50,000 grants we need to provide an overall proposal for all of the projects and they will award the funds in a lump sum. We will then administer the funds locally,” he said.

Hak Ely presented a plan to continue their vision of providing a platform for socializing, networking and connecting people and ideas. The facility is defined as a maker space with many high-tech offerings such as 3-D printing and computer networking. “They are proposing to improve the space to offer a more accessible and modern space,” Langowski said. He stressed that the Blandin funding needs to be used to expand the use of broadband and support community-wide utilization. A budget of $24,000 was provided for their funding needs.

The collaborative Arts in Ely group has been working to develop a website to showcase the growing arts community in Ely and to promote art creation, experiences and collaborations. They have been working on this for about a year and are looking for assistance to finish their website. They requested $700.

Incredible Ely prepared four separate projects for consideration

Based on the newly–launched website, Elyite 2.0 would build upon that project by implementing an open directory that supports business listings, and volunteer opportunities into the existing website. “The project would provide full listings for all downtown businesses,” Langowski said. “All listings would be made available so that businesses may claim their listings and update their listing profiles. This would allow all businesses to be equally represented.” The budget for this project came in at $8,600.

Incredible Ely’s Richard Stuart said information gathered from the business surveys completed in the last round of funding revealed that most businesses are not part of the Google My Business community. “Currently many businesses do not have a listing and do not show up on a Google search,” he said. “Over 80-percent of searches never leave the Google site. This would allow all businesses to have a Google presence, and it would be at no charge to the businesses. Google My Business listings will make it easy for Ely businesses to manage their business profiles so that they can stand out online.” To provide this service to the 130 businesses in the downtown area, Stuart suggested a budget of $9,514.

Other proposed projects were also discussed, including:

Community Building Skill Shares - In an effort to support economic growth in the Ely area by connecting people, knowledge, ideas and resources, Ten Below Co-working will facilitate free professional development skill shares for local businesses to leverage the power of the internet and social media. Budget $5,980.

Proximity Beacons for Hyperlocal Marketing- This project would utilize Wi-Fi enabled Bluetooth proximity beacons to deliver, fun interactive and unique experiences to visitors using beacons and proximity marketing. The beacons would generate additional awareness around park events in real time for visitors. Budget $7,718.

Town of Morse - The Ely ABC will continue to advocate for the expansion of high-speed Internet service in the township through a collaboration project with Frontier Communications.

Other business

In other business, the council:

Administered the oath of office to Angela Campbell as well as newly re-elected council members Albert Forsman and Heidi Omerza, and mayor Chuck Novak.

Heard a report from Fire Chief Tom Erchul that the partial government shutdown in Washington, D.C., has prevented him from submitting a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for replacement air packs for members of the Ely Fire Department.

Authorized payment of $700 in dues for 2019 membership to the Range Association for Municipalities and Schools.

Adopted the city of Ely Mission, Vision and Values Statement.

Authorized city officials and staff to attend meetings outside of Ely.

Approved the 2019 city of Ely fee schedule.

Authorized the Knights of Columbus Council 3238 to conduct bingo on the following dates in 2019, Feb. 10, April 7, Nov. 17 and Dec.15, at St. Anthony’s Church Hall.

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