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City still working on downtown wi-fi
Downtown.jpg
McMinnville officials continue to consider plans to bring wi-fi to the downtown area.

McMinnville officials are attempting to restore a wi-fi connection in downtown McMinnville

Last month, the city Finance Committee approved adding wireless internet downtown and selected option two, out of three coverage choices, presented from a bid submitted by Ben Lomand, the lone bidder. 

“After we submitted the bid to you last month, we realized there was some confusion on the bid,” said Katie Kemezis, community planner for the city of McMinnville, to members of the committee. “So, we got back together and clarified the confusion. There were four bids and not three. The one you were excited about wasn’t actually tied to the price tag that we had listed.”

The city received a 50/50 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to provide free internet access on Main Street for the purpose of increasing economic and educational activity. While the grant provides $31,859, the city must match it for a combined $63,719.

Last month’s option two drew the attention of committee members due to it providing the best coverage. Additionally, the city’s responsibility would be $36,817 – slightly above its required match. 

June’s three coverage

options: 

Option one: $54,416 to provide 10 access points on Court Square. 

Option two: $68,676 to provide 13 access points from Magness Library to Sparta Street, as well as Court Square.

Option three: $99,387 to provide 22 access points from Magness Library to Sparta Street, as well as Court Square and the Farmers Market. 

Corrected and accurate 

options:

Option one: $54,416 to provide 10 access points on Court Square.

Option two: $68,676 to provide 13 access points in Courts Square and Farmers Market.

Option three: $88,644 to provide 17 access points on Main Street, from Magness Library to N. Spring Street.

Option four: $99,387 to provide 19 access points on Main Street, from Magness Library to Sparta Street and N. Spring Street, and Farmers Market. 

Option two on the corrected bid included Farmers Market, but it removed access points in the area where Main Street connects to Sparta. Option three is closer to the Main Street coverage the city thought it was getting in June. However, that cost is $88,644 and increased the city’s out-of-pocket cost to $56,785.

“I want what we thought we had last time,” said Alderman Steve Harvey.

Alderman Everett Brock suggested a compromise and questioned “if a couple access points” could be added onto option two to increase coverage on Main Street and keeping the price somewhere between $68,676 and $88,644. 

“I guess I’m trying to take the $68,000 and add a few more thousand to it and get all the way down to Sparta Street,” said Brock. “I can’t see going an extra 50 yards could be that expensive.”

Alderman Ryle Chastain also voiced a desire for a “revised option two” with access further down Main Street. 

Finance Committee members requested options that added coverage to Main Street and maybe mid-range between the two prices: $68,676 and $88,644.