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John Day receives $2.25 million in state broadband, dispatch funding

Innovation Gateway determined a priority by Oregon Solutions survey
Rylan Boggs

Blue Mountain Eagle

Published on July 25, 2017 5:41PM

John Day Mayor Ron Lundbom, right, makes a point during a city council meeting as City Manager Nick Greek listens.

The Eagle/Rylan Boggs

John Day Mayor Ron Lundbom, right, makes a point during a city council meeting as City Manager Nick Greek listens.

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State legislators approved $2.25 million in funding for John Day earlier this month.

John Day City Manager Nick Green said $1.82 million will go toward fiber optic broadband service, and $420,000 will go to help fund the local dispatch center.

The broadband funding, requested by Sen. Ted Ferrioli, will allow for nearly 70 percent of county residents to access high-speed internet, Green said.

The local dispatch money will allow the city to free up roughly $100,000 allocated to fund the dispatch center and instead use it on community enhancing projects, according to John Day Mayor Ron Lundbom.

“The 911 funds provide a critical bridging solution to provide us with time for the Grant County Court to refer a local option levy to voters,” Green said.

In other city news, a recent poll conducted by Oregon Solutions, an agency that helps communities build consensus about an enhancement project, identified the Innovation Gateway as a priority.

The Innovation Gateway is a 53-acre property purchased by the city to improve city connectivity, create a new wastewater treatment facility and open the doors for a number of possible improvement projects.

The survey included 330 participants, the majority of which lived in John Day or visited at least once a week.

Other priorities, in order, were a recreation center, improved housing options, high-speed internet and a marketing campaign.

Steady jobs in new industries were an overwhelming top choice for what might draw people to John Day. A strong educational system was also important, according to Green.

Many of those surveyed said they thought the Kam Wah Chung Museum and improved arts and cultural opportunities were important in attracting people to the area.

Those surveyed also felt John Day should become an innovation center for agriculture, food production and education.

Mayor Ron Lundbom said he thought partnering with Oregon Solutions was a good investment so far and said it was nice to see the county, hospital and school district all on the same page.

He said the high survey response rate impressed Oregon Solutions, which was not accustomed to so many responses for such a small group.

Lundbom was also surprised at the importance of arts and culture to locals.


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