By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

Improved internet service could soon come to Union Grove as officials look at ways of marketing the community to would-be developers and new businesses.

The Plan Commission on Monday met with representatives of Glendale-based Midwest Fiber Networks on a possible project that could build on the existing infrastructure.

While communities such as Union Grove already have internet connectivity accommodations, officials have deemed the existing setup as inadequate as bandwidth needs have increased.

If the village were to link arms with Midwest, the company could install new fiber networks for commercial and industrial buildings throughout the municipal footprint. Municipal buildings and schools could also be incorporated into the plans.

Midwest has a range of clients including individual businesses and full governing bodies, according to company representatives. Nearby clients include the Village of Pleasant Prairie and S.C. Johnson.

Rich Trgovec, engineering manager with Midwest, said the company would aim to work with as many participants in the community as possible if the village would agree to move forward in talks.

“All we would need is a specific location as a starting point,” Trgovec said of the logistics involved.

Existing business partners participating in Midwest’s expanded service package would not incur sizable cost increases, according to the company.

Midwest markets its services to nearly every property class possible. The one notable category is residences.

Village President Mike Aimone, who sits on the Plan Commission, said the overtures toward improving internet service in the community could be beneficial as the village looks to broaden its commercial base.

The proposed business park eyed on 40 acres of land on the village’s easterly border near Piggly Wiggly is one spot Aimone said would be well suited for upgraded services.

“That would be a big draw for us,” Aimone said of a Wi-Fi network at the business park.

During the conceptual discussion, Aimone said he also would be interested in exploring the potential use of money in one of the village’s tax-incremental financing, or TIF, districts.

“I’d like to explore that further and see if any money (allocated toward the internet improvements) is recoverable,” Aimone said.

Commissioners did not take any formal action at Monday’s meeting, opting instead to let village staffers work out some of the logistics with Midwest’s representatives.

“It will be interesting to see how this turns out,” Aimone said.

At Monday’s meeting, commissioners also discussed a big-picture conceptual exercise on future housing developments. The goal, according to village officials, is to look at the village’s existing housing stock and sale prices.

The review will look at homes in all price ranges, including moderate-income ones that have been selling for $150,000 to $250,000, and high-end homes that typically sell for more than $400,000.

Commissioners during this week’s discussion noted the competitive selling market, as interest rates remain low.

Civil engineering firm Baxter and Woodman will assist the village in its review of future housing development alongside the community’s current needs.

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