Connecticut- Northwest ConneCT, a fiber optic broadband and mobile communications regional initiative, wants to improve broadband internet access and cell phone coverage in the region. Northwest ConneCT would assist in creating a public-private partnership to bring a fiber-optic network to 25 communities.
Northwest ConneCT previously received $250,000 in grant funding, which is being used to meet with stakeholders in the region, develop a website, create legal framework for such a network, and conduct surveys. The initiative intends on reaching out to major carriers within the next month, with a community vote scheduled for summer of 2018 and completion of the network in 2021.
llinois- The University of Illinois (U. of I.) is launching a multibillion-dollar fundraising campaign across its three campuses. The Urbana-Champaign campus seeks to collect $2.25 billion in public and private donations over the next five years. Springfield is looking to collect $40 million, according to university officials. The Urbana-Champaign and Springfield campuses formally started the public phases of their plans last week, while Chicago will kick off its campaign and announce its funding goal Oct. 28. All three campaigns will end in 2022, university leaders said. About $1.01 billion in private offerings has been secured for the U. of I.
At the three campuses, there are plans to renovate Altgeld and Illini halls, costing up to $100 million; a $50 million facility for health, aging and disability-related research; athletic facility upgrades; construction and programming for the Bruce Nesbitt African American Cultural Center; and improvements to the University Library. There are also plans to spend $8 million for a new Center for Lincoln Studies and $10 million for building upgrades. The plan is to raise more than their last campaign totaling $2.43 billion. In many cases, public universities throughout the country are turning to fundraising to make up for stagnant or dwindling state support.
Michigan- City of Detroit officials presented a $317-million plan to improve 300 miles of roads and thousands of damaged sidewalks. Mayor Mike Duggan plans to propose a portion of that funding come from investing $125 million in bond funds. The bonds, which would be repaid through un-budgeted increases in state transportation revenue over the next several years, will be considered by the Detroit City Council.
Of the $125 million in the proposal, about $80 million would fund major infrastructure improvements along some of the city’s commercial corridors. Improvements would include landscaping, reconfiguring traffic lanes to add bike lanes, improved street parking and wider sidewalks to allow for outdoor café seating. The remaining $45 million would add to existing road funds to improve 300 miles of city roads and replace hundreds of thousands of broken sections of sidewalk across the city. There are also plans to spend another $193 million of budgeted city, state and federal dollars to repave roads and replace sidewalks. Work on streetscape projects are expected to begin by early 2018 and continue over the next five years.
Florida- The St. Johns County Ocean Pier is in danger of disappearing despite being rebuilt several times over the years. A study performed on the pier several years ago showed that the pier only had about 10 years left. However, after the recent hurricane, this prediction may need to be revisited. Currently, the pier and adjoining parking lot are owned by the county, but the city of St. Augustine Beach would like to take over the land and save the pier through a public-private partnership (P3).
The city estimates replacing the pier would cost between $10 to $14 million and has proposed using hotel and motel occupancy tax dollars for bonds. City officials have been tasked to create a report on the current state of the pier and how the city plans to approach the effort, as well as finding organizations that could give the city advice on forming a P3