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Duke awards $12,600 for fiber-optic project

February 23, 2011
Duke Energy recently awarded $12,600 to the Crawford County Economic Development Corp. to help bring fiber-optic and wireless Internet service to the Southeast Industrial Park at Carefree.

The project will enhance communication services for existing businesses and is expected to help attract new companies to Crawford County. The industrial park, located just north of Interstate 64, is certified by the state as a "shovel ready" site ready for business development.

"Duke Energy has a long history of promoting economic growth and development in the areas it serves," Kevin Hammersmith, area manager for Duke Energy Indiana's south area, said. "These funds will help pay for engineering services to place the fiber-optic cable and broadband network throughout the industrial park."

"We are pleased to partner with Duke Energy on this communications project," Don DuBois, executive director of the Crawford County EDC, said. "This project will greatly improve Crawford County's economic development prospects and have a positive impact on the quality of life for many county residents."

Residents who live within a five-mile radius of the industrial park also will have the opportunity to subscribe to this new wireless broadband service. DuBois said the project is expected to be completed by May 31.

The grant is made possible through Duke Energy's Community Growth Partnership Grant Program and is aimed at generating new jobs and capital investment in lndiana. Since 2008, 27 grant recipients — all local or regional economic development organizations — have received more than $328,000 toward economic development projects.

Duke Energy requires grant recipients to demonstrate that they have leveraged other resources or partners in addition to Duke Energy for their projects. The Community Growth Partnership Grant Program is part of Duke Energy's economic development strategy to assist communities in becoming more competitive.

In addition to the Duke Energy grant, the county's economic development corporation received a $240,000 grant from Radius|Indiana and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. The only match that grant requires of the county is utilization of equipment already in place, valued at $20,000.

Radius|Indiana is a regional economic development organization that includes Crawford, Washington, Orange, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence and Martin counties, as well as Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division. Radius|Indiana is located at the Crane campus. DuBois is a member of the Radius|Indiana board.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. was established in 2005 to replace the former Department of Commerce.

Duke Energy Indiana's operations provide approximately 6,800 megawatts of electricity capacity to approximately 780,000 customers, making it the state's largest electric supplier.

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