The Falmouth Economic Development and Industrial Corporation moved forward with several ongoing initiatives this past month, including a fiber-optic network Main Street extension, updates to the Falmouth Station, and two feasibility studies.
Michael DiGiano, executive director of the EDIC, said work on the OpenCape extension along Main Street is progressing. OpenCape is a Barnstable-based nonprofit that uses a fiber-optic network to connect municipal buildings, emergency services, schools, businesses, and research institutions on Cape Cod.
After more than a year of planning, applications went live for the Falmouth Business Gigabit Project on September 19. By extending OpenCape’s existing network down Main Street, the nonprofit is offering more businesses access to a shared gigabit fiber-optic network for $117 per month. More than 40 businesses have applied to take advantage of the build-out, Mr. DiGiano said.
Mr. DiGiano added that OpenCape’s subcontractor hopes to complete a build-out by the end of October. If they are able to complete the backbone of the network by then, they can start connecting customers by the first week in November, Mr. DiGiano said. OpenCape is hoping to hit 60 sign-ups by then, he added.
The first 60 customers will be able to have their connection fees covered by a connection fund. Mr. DiGiano noted that OpenCape would be accepting applications from businesses beyond Main Street for consideration during this build-out.
In terms of the Falmouth Station, Lynne Broderick, EDIC administrator, asked members of the board to approve an expenditure to trim branches and remove several trees on the property. The town’s tree warden recommended removal of dead trees, particularly one tree at the far end of the lot which was at risk of falling, Ms. Broderick said.
“I don’t know that we really have a choice,” Ms. Broderick told the board.
The board approved an expenditure of $4,200 for a tree service to trim branches and remove trees at risk of falling.
Other updates to the Falmouth Station are moving forward as well. A television and alarm code panel have been relocated inside the building. They were originally housed in the foyer, which meant people waiting to catch a bus could not wait inside the foyer during inclement weather if the building was not open for business.
Once the locking system on the doors has been altered, the foyer will be unlocked and open, even if the Station Grill and ticketing office are closed, Ms. Broderick explained.
Members of the EDIC have been working on hiring consulting firms to conduct studies that will measure the feasibility of two initiatives. They received proposals for a co-working feasibility study and a community-based fiber-optic feasibility study.
The co-working feasibility study will assess whether or not there is demand for a co-working space in Falmouth. Susan L. Moran, vice chairwoman of the EDIC, pointed out that a co-working space called CapeSpace is moving into Mashpee Commons. She asked whether or not that development would impact the market in Falmouth for that kind of business.
Mr. DiGiano replied that Ms. Moran’s question would be addressed in the study.
EDIC subcommittee members interviewed some of the consultants who submitted proposals for both studies in order to make suggestions to the larger board. The EDIC entered executive session to discuss contract negotiations at the conclusion of their meeting on October 8.
Members of the EDIC also interviewed two prospective applicants for an open seat on the board. Courtney Bird and Robert Ripley are vying for the spot, though the ultimate decision will be made by the Falmouth Board of Selectmen, empowered with the authority to appoint members of the EDIC.