Shutdown has THEDA looking for study fundingThe state shutdown strikes again, this time leaving Two Harbors Economic Development Authority members wondering how to fund a $46,000 data center feasibility study they’d like to get started on.
By: Brittany Berrens, Lake County News Chronicle
The state shutdown strikes again, this time leaving Two Harbors Economic Development Authority members wondering how to fund a $46,000 data center feasibility study they’d like to get started on.
Because of the state shutdown, THEDA was unable to get the $41,000 they requested from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board to complete a data center feasibility study, to be conducted by Shannon Kimball of I.T. Netcom. THEDA members held a special meeting in late June in order to get a request put together and sent to the IRRRB before a state shutdown.
Two Harbors and the surrounding area is considered to be a potential hot spot for large companies to house data centers because of the cool climate and cold water of Lake Superior. Data centers can use a form of heat exchange with cool water to keep electricity costs down. A feasibility study would show the best spots for data centers, potentially attracting companies to the area.
While THEDA members Chris Swanson and Paul Bergman seemed optimistic that the IRRRB would help fund the study if it weren’t for a state shutdown, all board members agreed that they needed to start looking into alternate funding sources.
“I don’t think a shutdown should dictate what we do,” Swanson said. “I think we should turn every rock over and see what it is that we’re trying to accomplish.”
Kimball said he and other employees of I.T. Netcom are on standby for the funds they need to complete the study. “As soon as I get the green light we’ll hit the ground running,” Kimball said.
Local entrepreneurs Brian Borglum, Craig Rhode, and Ben Christian presented the board with their plan to design a web site for THEDA. The three have formed their own web design and maintenance business called PRS7ideas.
The three came up with a detailed plan of what they’d like to include, such as a map of commercial properties for sale in Two Harbors and a Google voice setup that would allow people to directly call THEDA. They also proposed setting up extensive social media presence.
The web site design, development, and maintenance would cost $2,500 with different pricing increments thereafter depending on what THEDA would want done. Authority members said they would check out past work the three have done but were pleased to have someone willing to get a web site going.
Tom Livingston of ProVideo spoke with THEDA members about creating a promotional video for the city, detailing the projects that were being done to attract potential business owners and residents. He cited the Lake County fiber project as being a major project to highlight in a video. “It’s about capturing why you live here,” Livingston said.
ProVideo has worked on promotional videos for Grand Rapids and Duluth, as well as commercials for the Miller-Dwan Medical Center and corporate promotional videos for Cirrus Design and Northwest Airlines. A long-form feature that they created, Fresh Duluth, is featured on public television’s Minnesota Channel.
ProVideo’s work and reputation comes at a price. Work done with Grand Rapids cost about $65,000. Livingston said if THEDA chose to work with ProVideo, he had a number of funding sources in mind and would work with the board find them.
THEDA members took no action but told Livingston they would watch some of his videos and consider his presentation.