Walnut Cove has been selected along with nine other local municipalities to receive a combined total of $272,000 to strengthen Wi-Fi services.
“It’s going to provide free Wi-Fi services to our downtown,” said Walnut Cove Town Manager, Bobby Miller.
The announcement was made at Isothermal Community College in Spindale last week and was part of a $1.78 million initiative from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Leslie Falstreau, town clerk for Walnut Cove, attended the announcement in Spindale.
According to Miller, the project will take roughly 60 days to complete and will offer free Wi-Fi between First Street and Sixth Street in downtown Walnut Cove. Miller explained the Wi-Fi will be accessible for a one block distance off of Main Street.
“It will be great for businesses that are currently paying for it,” Miller said.
Earl F. Gohl, federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, made the announcement with several North Carolina state officials in attendance as well, including John Skvarla, North Carolina commerce secretary, Keith Werner, North Carolina secretary of information, and Pat Mitchell, North Carolina assistant secretary for rural economic development.
The other nine municipalities that will receive part of the $272,000 to strengthen Wi-Fi services include Bryson City, Forest City, Granite Falls, Hudson, Morganton, Rosmand, Rutherford College, Valdese, and Wilksboro.
“It was a very competitive grant,” Miller said.
The town manger explained that local businesses and the Stokes County Economic Development were instrumental in successfully obtaining the grant due to the massive amount of letters that were submitted stressing the need for free Wi-Fi in downtown Walnut Cove.
According to a press release issued by the Appalachian Regional Commission, 415 local businesses will be impacted by the Wi-Fi services. The goals of the Wi-Fi assistance is to strengthen businesses, expand tourism, develop main streets, and assist local students.
Isothermal Community College and Southwestern Community College, located in Sylvia, will receive funding to expand technical training for manufacturing in the automotive and aerospace industries.
Aila Boyd may be reached at 336-415-2210.