May 15, 2021

The List: Broadband study, facilities talk bring about a need for feedback

I think we’ve all been to a wedding where we’ve heard the phrase, “Speak now or forever hold your peace.” While that’s maybe a little harsh in this context, now is the time for feedback on a couple of fronts around the area, and at the top of my list this week is that I want to make sure you’re aware that you can weigh in.

The board of supervisors gave funding awhile back to a broadband study piloted by Greater Des Moines Partnership, and the surveys are out for the study. In fact, Adair County needs a lot more people to participate in the study or we may not benefit from this first round of the project.

I spoke with supervisor Jerry Walker of Bridgewater this week about the study. He’s on the study’s steering committee, along with Greenfield Municipal Utilities General Manager Scott Tonderum. Walker said the need for better broadband is very apparent to him. This survey will generate information organizers hope will lead to better data they can use as grants and other funding sources are sought after to overall better broadband access in rural areas like ours.

“In Adair County it’s really bad. There are hardly any broadband connections any place,” Walker said. “The internet they have doesn’t work hardly at all. Bridgewater’s lucky enough we got broadband because Cumberland got a grant three or four years ago, so they brought it to Bridgewater and Fontanelle, but they never got it to the rural areas.”

Walker said that other considerations that will need to be taken down the road is not only making broadband connection available, but affordable.

These surveys are available online at dsmpartnership.com or at the Adair County Courthouse, Greenfield City Hall and the Greenfield Chamber/Main Street and Development office next to city hall.

The other way you can speak up is through a facilities project discussion Nodaway Valley is doing right now. A second community engagement meeting was held last week, and to generate discussion and brainstorming, ideas the district could go through with were shared. They range all the way from keeping things how they are to closing all of our buildings and building one new building for kindergartners through high schools seniors.

While some of those more drastic options shared likely aren’t going to happen, I’d encourage you to visit www.nodawayvalley.org, watch the video of the meeting and share your thoughts via the survey that is available.

There are lots of ways to be involved right now without adding more meetings to your plate, as you can see. I think the feeling of having your voice heard is a good one worthy of chasing, rather than wishing you would have later. I went online and took both surveys and I’m glad I did.