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Creston becomes Iowa’s fifth connected community

Published: Friday, July 18, 2014 11:26 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 18, 2014 11:32 a.m. CDT

Creston is only the fifth community in the state of Iowa to receive this honor.

Ellen Gerharz, executive director at Creston Chamber of Commerce, announced Tuesday that Creston was recently named a certified connected community by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Connect Iowa — which is leading the effort to increase high-speed Internet access, adoption and use across Iowa.

“We are proud that we’re a connected community,” Gerharz said. “You don’t have to live in a large community to realize the direction of this state and country. Having high speed broadband internet access is important. And, it will continue to be very important moving forward in attracting young professionals, businesses and industry to our area. Communities not connected will be at a disadvantage.”

The mission of the governor is to connect all Iowa communities with high-speed internet to create a better business environment, more effective community and economic development, improved healthcare, more efficient government, enhanced education and improved quality of life.

To become a connected community, cities or counties must score above 100 in an assessment that includes criteria for access, adoption and use of high speed internet. Creston scored a 106 on the assessment.

Gerharz said legwork by Andrew Collings of SICOG (Southern Iowa Council of Government) and broadband internet access and availability at Greater Regional Medical Center, city of Creston, Creston schools, Southwestern Community College, Gibson Memorial Library and IowaWORKS all aided in receiving this honor.

“It also helped that we are a central point for Windstream,” Gerharz said.

The first five connected communities in order include Indianola, Webster City, West Des Moines, Blackhawk County and Creston.

Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will present Creston with a plaque for this honor 9:30 a.m. Aug. 5 at Creston Chamber of Commerce, 208 W. Taylor St. The public is welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served.

Gerharz added Union County just missed qualifying to be a connected community. She and Wayne Pantini — executive director at Union County Development Association — have plans to continue to improve high-speed internet access, adoption and use so the county can also achieve this honor.

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