Michelle Perry: A win for our community | CraigDailyPress.com

Michelle Perry: A win for our community

Michelle Perry/For Craig Press

Michelle Balleck

Last week, we shared some big news for our community's future.

Yampa Valley Electric Association announced its intention to build a fiber-to-the-premise broadband network, and the city of Craig and Moffat County announced the withdrawal of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant it was seeking to build middle-mile infrastructure.

As the champion for the Moffat County Broadband Initiative, I am highly pleased with this outcome. Our community will still enjoy abundant, resilient, affordable internet service on an open-access network that can allow other providers to tap into the infrastructure YVEA is building.

Access to true broadband service that offers the redundancy we sorely need is critical for our business, governmental, health, public safety, and educational success.

MCBI was a joint effort of several local community anchor institutions, led by the city of Craig, Moffat County, and Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership. In addition to those three entities, Memorial Regional Health, Colorado Northwestern Community College, Moffat County School District, and Moffat County Local Marketing District had also contributed to a three-year contribution for CMEDP to complete the administrative work for the network. We are able to now conclude that work earlier than planned.

YVEA has been a financial and in-kind supporter of the community's efforts since the strategic planning phase. YVEA's announcement allows us to cease further municipal work and, instead, support the cooperative's efforts to build out this critical infrastructure to its members.

Recommended Stories For You

And, this certainly is critical infrastructure. At our Economic Development Prioritization & Action Workshop in December 2016, 40 representatives from our nine community anchor institutions told us so. Broadband development was the No. 1 goal identified at that planning session, as it touches every single industry and service necessary for community sustainability. It creates an entrepreneurial environment and a community welcoming to businesses and residents.

As we embrace a culture of economic diversification and investment, broadband access will be the foundation for our community's sustainability. It's a building block for the other projects we will turn our focus toward now.

This project conclusion is a win for our community, and we welcome the outcomes that are sure to follow.

Michelle Perry is executive director of Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership and Marianna Raftopoulos Business Success Center. She can be reached at 970-620-4370 or director@cmedp.com.