ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Fiber broadband headed to Hawick and Long Lake

The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners has approved sending American Rescue Plan Act dollars to another high-speed broadband project, this time in Hawick and Long Lake. Approximately 289 properties will soon have access to fiber-to-the-home broadband, through Vibrant Broadband.

Traffic drives past Hawick along Minnesota Highway 23 the afternoon of Tuesday, April 26, 2022.
Traffic drives past Hawick along Minnesota Highway 23 the afternoon of Tuesday, April 26, 2022. The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners approved another $444,700 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to go toward broadband expansion.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
We are part of The Trust Project.

Editor's Note: Story corrected to reflect that Roseville and Irving Townships are still considering whether to provide funding for the broadband project.

WILLMAR — As Kandiyohi County continues to wait for the state to open the Border-to-Border broadband grant application window, with the hope of being awarded significant funding for a large broadband project, supporters of high-speed broadband remain focused on expanding the reach of broadband across the county.

Over the last several weeks, the Broadband and Advanced Technology Committee has been working closely with Vibrant Broadband of the Meeker Cooperative Light and Power Association to design and obtain funding for broadband projects on the east side of the county.

The committee is part of the Kandiyohi County and city of Willmar Economic Development Commission.

Waterfowl cross 232nd Avenue in the heart of Hawick on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. Approximately 289 properties in the Hawick area will soon have access to fiber-to-the-home broadband, through Vibrant Broadband.
Waterfowl cross 232nd Avenue in the heart of Hawick on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. Approximately 289 properties in the Hawick area will soon have access to fiber-to-the-home broadband through Vibrant Broadband.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

"Broadband has been such a priority for us and we've struggled to get things moving," said Kandiyohi County Commissioner Corky Berg.

ADVERTISEMENT

At the April 19 County Board meeting, the commissioners approved spending $444,700 of the county's American Rescue Plan Act allocation toward a fiber-to-the-home broadband project in Hawick and around Long Lake. The project would reach 289 properties that are currently underserved or unserved by high-speed broadband.

"It gives us the opportunity to start covering areas that probably wouldn't be covered. This is a great opportunity," said County Administrator Larry Kleindl. "I wish we could cover all corners of the county right away at the same time."

The total project is estimated to cost $1,005,000. Roseville and Irving townships are considering providing $57,800 in funding for the project, with Vibrant funding the rest.

Since the county's $8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds began to arrive, the County Board has planned to dedicate nearly 75% of it to broadband expansion. While a few of the projects need grant approvals to move forward, the county has approved funding to a handful of smaller plans.

Charter will be expanding high-speed broadband to some properties in Dovre , New London and Burbank townships and Arvig is connecting properties in Prinsburg . The county provided American Rescue Plan Act funds to all of them.

"We have an opportunity to get a shovel in the ground yet this year," Kleindl said.

More Kandiyohi County Board:
With $1.6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds still uncommitted, the Kandiyohi County Board will continue its discussion on possible ways of spending the money during a work session on Tuesday, following the regular county board meeting.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


What to read next
WILLMAR — A fun-filled Willmar Fests event continues through Saturday. See photos here from Willmar Fests activities earlier in the week.
A family from Madison, South Dakota, purchased land near the Minnesota River unaware of Chippewa County's plans for a park on adjoining land. They believe the park will disrupt their plans for camping and hunting and adversely affect the value of their property and question whether an access road to the park can be developed along their land.
Marriage licenses issued in Kandiyohi County
More than 9,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in Minnesota in the past week, and the deaths of 36 people were attributed to COVID-19. Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have been near 400 for the past several weeks.