Liberty Grove Makes Plans for Fiber in 2024

Another Northern Door community is moving closer to committing funds for broadband expansion. 

The Town of Liberty Grove has chosen Nsight to complete a design plan to deliver fiber internet to every home in the town by 2024. That comes after several communities have selected internet service providers to complete similar projects, including within Baileys Harbor, Nasewaupee and Jacksonport (see the related story).

The town has contracted with FARR Technologies to complete a $475,000 engineering study to dial in an estimated cost for the project, and the town is applying for a loan through the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands to finance the study. 

Town board chair John Lowry said the town hopes to pay for the eventual project by using federal and state grants to pay for about 40% of it, and then finance the rest through a long-term bond.

Liberty Grove has already piggybacked on work Nsight did to provide fiber throughout Washington Island. The town embarked on a $637,000 pilot project with the company to provide fiber to 44 homes and one business in the Northport area at the tip of the peninsula. That project is funded with $73,000 from Nsight, $245,500 in American Rescue Plan Act funds, and $318,500 in matching funds from the Public Service Commission. Work on that project is underway and is expected to be fully completed next spring. 

The town selected Nsight over Bertram Communications, which bought Door County Broadband in April. Bertram’s $16.9 million proposal called for burying all fiber lines, while Nsight’s plan called for a combination of buried lines and lines run on poles. 

“We were just more comfortable with the experience Nsight brings, and the fact that they are based out of Green Bay,” Lowry said. 

Future of Val-A Lot Uncertain

The town is considering the next steps to take with the vacant lot that the Val-A Motel once occupied. The town has invested $152,000 in the property, which it purchased in 2019 after the motel fell into disrepair. In August, the town board discussed selling the property but did not take action on the idea. The town has discussed potential uses for the property, including for affordable housing or commercial business.

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