Progress made on Ghent Broadband project

Oct. 5—A project which aims to bring broadband to more than 1,600 households in Raleigh County is moving forward.

During a Raleigh County Commission meeting Tuesday morning, commissioners approved a roughly $1.15 million contract with Thrasher Engineering Services for the Ghent Broadband project.

Commission President Dave Tolliver said the project will result in over 100 miles of new fiber infrastructure, with Ghent as the starting point, and will provide broadband connectivity to 1,677 households.

"It will cover 106 miles all the way down to the (Interstate) 64 — (Interstate) 77 split," Tolliver said. "We're tickled to death."

This project is being partially funded by the state through its GigReady program, which provided $5,889,198 and required $1,963,066 in matching funds from the Raleigh County Commission, according to a press release from the state.

Construction on the Ghent Broadband project is expected to begin next year, Tolliver said.

In other business, commissioners approved roughly $330,000 in expenditures and drawdowns for the Clear Fork Rails to Trails project, which Tolliver said is "about ready to turn dirt."

The Clear Fork Rails to Trails project is the 15-mile addition to the state's 300-plus miles of walking trails and is being paid for using several grants.

In other actions:

Commissioners approved a Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority Grant Application for $100,000 to upgrade the heating system in the courthouse. If it is awarded, Tolliver said the commission is required to provide a 20 percent match.

Commissioners approved placing "In God We Trust" on county vehicles.