Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Former Mayor Graham Richards speaks in Dallas

Where does your city stand in the broadband race? (WTN News): at "... The Broadband Properties SUMMIT '08 Conference in Dallas, Texas last week. The conference had more than 700 attendees from around the world and if you did not go, you missed a diverse mix of presentations."

Jim Carlini writes for Wisconsin Technology News and gave the keynote address at the conference. He quotes Richards:
"We initiated many new urban reinvestment incentives and programs. These included fighting crime, improving urban infrastructure, brownfield development, and new development marketing approaches. I set a goal to reach $1 billion of private investment in the urban core of the city within three years. We reached that goal in less than three years, which included counting part of the $100 million FIOS investment made in the urban townships. High-speed broadband was part of the marketing to companies to urge them to invest in urban Fort Wayne. "

Maybe it's because I depend on the Internet for my living, but I think Verizon's investment in FIOS and Ft. Wayne can do nothing but good for the community for many years to come.

I'll even tie this to the Aboite New Trails project and some of the criticism that Oprah's Big Give took with its donation to it.

Indeed, neither broadband, nor trails, are food. BUT, having a city wired for broadband brings job--jobs of a kind that are sustainable and not the JOB JOBS JOBS of the manufacturing kind that Hillary Clinton shouted about in her commercial, that northern Indiana is probably never going to see again. Tech kind of jobs--those are jobs of the future, and jobs that depend on broadband.

How's that connect to walking/running/biking trails? It's part of the "creative class" mentality. Creative class kind of folks expect amenities. We sure don't have the weather for much of the year. I believe the Midwest is beautiful, but it's hard to expect someone who comes from a coast (oceans) or the west (mountains) to appreciate its beauty immediately. Hence, we better have some other draws to attract them.
Walking trails and broadband--strange bedfellows, but part of a big picture.

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