Internet upgrade in Escanaba's Whitetail Park

Whitetail Industrial Park in Escanaba will receive $94,000 from the state to upgrade to broadband Internet service following the governor’s signature on Public Act 296 of 2012 on Aug. 1.

The legislation is a 2012 supplemental budget bill for of almost $100 million that state Rep. Ed McBroom and Sen. Tom Casperson worked to include the money for the local project.

“This was a leading priority to create local jobs and improve business opportunities in the region,” said McBroom, R-Vulcan. “The state money will help the broadband upgrade finally become a reality.”

The state will provide the funding as a grant to the city of Escanaba.  The city plans to implement an RFP process to solicit bids with hope construction could start as early as late fall.

“This money has been a long time coming going back to when the industrial park was first developed,” said Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba. “It’s a good sign for our local area and the state that the state’s funding can now address these much needed development projects.”

When Jean Ross, president of Delta Manufacturing, first contacted the Delta County Economic Development Alliance (DCEDA), she shared exciting plans for exporting and expanding into new international markets.  A requirement of that growth was high speed internet, as 95 percent of their orders are placed online.  It’s also a critical tool for training, sharing product documentation, and communicating across borders.  Their current T1 internet service can’t keep up on the 7 day a week, 24 hour a day demand international business requires.

Delta Manufacturing has indicated it will add 13 new jobs as soon as the service is available to support advanced product support, global marketing and international sales.

“The high speed internet will give all current and future businesses of Whitetail Industrial Park more of a competitive edge,” Ross said. “This translates into added revenue that will retain and create more jobs.” Ross added, “Our thanks to all who worked on this project and Governor Snyder for signing the bill.”

When the park was created about 10 years ago high-speed internet service was part of the project plans touted by the state of Michigan, Delta County, and the City of Escanaba.   The team working to bring the project to fruition included Jim O’Toole, Escanaba’s City Manager; Vicki Schwab of the Delta County Economic Development Alliance, Sen. Tom Casperson; and State Rep Ed McBroom.

“This is a great example of collaboration at work in Delta County,” said Vicki Schwab, director of the Delta County Economic Development Alliance. “We are excited to see the efforts of hard work and determination to enhance the opportunities for growth in our community.”

The park, owned by the City of Escanaba, is already home to businesses including Delta Manufacturing, Michigan Meats, JD Machine Tech, Service Master, Billy Electric, the Rod and Gun Club, and the Delta Solid Waste Management Authority; providing 60 local jobs.   The upgrade to the existing Internet technology is needed to maintain and improve their competitiveness and future growth.