Fiber Optic Plan For Bourbon Falls Short

(BY CAROL ANDERS, TIMES-UNION) BOURBON – A plan to bring a new fiber internet service to the Bourbon area by RTC of Rochester no longer is in the works.

The initial plan was to use a federal E-Rate grant to the Triton Schools, along with donations from the town and area business, to pay for the estimated cost of $403,000. However, the grant was withdrawn after a new government representative disallowed using the grant of $280,000 for construction.

Bourbon Town Board President Les McFarland said, “That plan is dead in the water.”
McFarland said he and Marshall County Economic Development Corporation President Jerry Chávez are working with RTC to see if a new plan can be devised.  Board members shared their confidence that the private pledged donations of $120,000 would still be available if a different plan can be implemented.

The board is entering into an agreement with Michigan Area Council of Governments to complete a comprehensive plan. James Turnwald, executive director, appeared before the council. Turnwald said the only expense would be $800 for surveying the public on what they would like to see included. He said they would use mailings and door hangers to take an overall survey. He said the rest of the funding would be a part of the membership fees paid by each of four counties.

The process, which is expected to take eight months, will likely begin in November as a steering committee of 15 to 20 members is formed. According to Turnwald, the steering committee will be members of the town government along with a cross section of the public. The committee would meet six times during the process. Turnwald said they begin reaching out to the public about halfway through the project. MACOG is currently working with the town of Argos to complete their comprehensive plan.

The Council amended its bee keeping ordinance to allow the keeping of bee hives within the town limits. According to town attorney Mark Wagner, the wording in the new amendment is similar to that in other towns. Bee keepers will be restricted to two hives, two colonies, a  10-foot setback, an appropriate apiary and fencing.

The board members voted unanimously to have a sidewalk installed on a property on Ind. 331. According to Wagner, he has sent several letters to the owner of the property, Jan Lemler, asking for a response to when the sidewalk would be replaced, but has not had any return contact. Street Department Superintendent Roger Terry will coordinate the installation and the owner will be billed for the work. The board expressed its concern for safety since pedestrians often have to step into the highway to pass.

A house at 308 E. Center St. could be torn down if the owners do not redeem the property within two days. Wagner and Bill Keyser, Zoning/Building Department, have been following the legal steps to have the property condemned. Keyser said he has a quote of $13,000 for the demolition and the board approved accepting the quote and proceeding with the demolition the deadline is not met.

Roger Terry reported that his department will begin leaf pickup on Wednesday of next week. He also said the paving project on Lincoln Highway is completed. The board approved allowing passing by vehicles on the length of highway.