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City asked to help write #036;5 million grant

Your ideas could decide whether or not Ironton gets $5 million in extra technology next year.

Friday, October 13, 2000

Your ideas could decide whether or not Ironton gets $5 million in extra technology next year.

"In 2020, what will people be saying about our community?" Ironton schools superintendent Steve Kingery said. "I think that’s the vision we’re trying to develop."

Educators and community leaders joined with Kingery at a town meeting Thursday, calling on residents to help put a vision on paper that will support the pursuit of Hewlett-Packard’s multi-million dollar grant for a digital village.

A digital village will provide broadband technology – access to the world through communication lines faster than a 56K modem – and opportunities that range from connecting doctors with teaching hospitals to putting parents and teachers into instant contact.

Business leaders from ConnectLink, Liebert Corp. and The Ironton Tribune pointed out Thursday uses of the technology – connecting doctors to the best hospital resources, providing startup technology for home-based Internet businesses, reviving local business by opening up sales markets across the globe, attracting high-tech companies and jobs that require fast Internet connections.

The grant will provide both cash and assistance. There could be some assistance for low-income residents. The company will help the community develop its plan and budget. There will be stiff competition from around the country. Hewlett Packard will evaluate proposals over the next several months, with a decision possible in February.

It all depends on the grant and the grant depends on participation, Kingery said.

"I think if we in this community can conceive a digital village and really believe in it and work toward it, I know we can achieve it."

The company wants to see what the entire community has to say.

Partnering with Ohio University Southern Campus, the city schools has formed a planning committee with businesses and community groups across the city.

It must submit the grant by Nov. 9 and the competition is fierce across the country.

The group will meet Tuesday to put the vision statement on paper.

Questions that will help the group write it include:

– How do you think our community can be better in 2020 than it is now?

– What kinds of things would help you or your group play a part in achieving a common vision for the community?

– Who else can support your vision and what can they do to help?

– What would you likew to change about Ironton in the future

– And, finally, what would you like others to be saying about our community 20 years from now?

To answer, visit the group’s Web site, http://www.ironton-digital-village.org, where you can fill out a comment form. Or, if you don’t have access to the Internet, the Tribune will forward your response. Simply mail to: Digital Village, c/o The Ironton Tribune, P.O. Box 647, Ironton, Ohio, 45638.