Joplin, Mo., Broadband Network Tender Draws 'Enormous Interest'

Joplin, Mo., Broadband Network Tender Draws ‘Enormous Interest’

(TNS) – A request for proposals for the construction of fiber optic broadband service in Joplin has been released and is coming to market at the right time, the Joplin City Council announced Monday evening.

“We’re getting tremendous interest,” said Riz Shah, an adviser to Alvarez & Marsal and Capital Projects LLP, the project’s consultant. Proposals are due at the end of January.

At that time, the consultants will compare the proposals and weed out any that don’t meet Joplin’s needs, said another adviser, Jack Schaller, vice president of Olsson, a Joplin engineering company. He said the consultants worked with city departments to determine the details of the service that would best serve Joplin and connect residents to the internet at the lowest cost.

The city will consider proposals in which internet service providers invest in partnerships to bring services here or structures in which the city contributes funding, but not proposals in which the city is asked to pay all costs, said Schaller.

The board was advised that questions on the RFP were due from interested vendors by the end of this week. Once proposals are received and reviewed, interviews with those submitting them should be conducted in late February or early March.

Mayor Pro Tem Keenan Cortez asked the consultants if it’s currently a buyer’s market in the industry. He said it looks like Joplin is getting a generous response and could be in a good position in the next six to nine months to get good service at a reasonable cost. He was told that the amount of interest would suggest this result.

Councilor Phil Stinnett asked the city manager if council members would have a say before being asked to approve a deal. He would like to have comments before a final agreement.

City manager Nick Edwards said if there is something that is not meeting the needs of the community, city staff can discuss it with council.

Stinnett said the priority at the start of the project was getting internet access for school children across the city. He doesn’t want to see broadband service become so overloaded with special interests or business uses that the city can’t meet the original goal of providing reasonably priced access to residents and families.

In other cases, a final report on the status of the solid waste master plan was presented at the meeting.

Joplin residents could see changes in waste and recycling services in the future if the city adopts the recommendations that come in the Solid Waste Master Plan.

Although a new waste and recycling contract is more than three years away, consultant Julie Davis of Burns and McDonnell said a move from voluntary curbside recycling to making it available to all residents will be a final recommendation.

This recommendation aims to eliminate more recyclable materials from waste dumped in landfills. She also said that to keep trash and recycling prices as low as possible, the report recommends the city reduce the frequency of bulky items and limit the amounts of bulky items that can be thrown away.

It is also recommended that the city’s recycling center be moved to a site where it can be operated alongside the disposal of tree branches and leaves so that residents can utilize all of these services in one visit.

The cost to build a new recycling center with the sites combined would be $3.2 million, Davis said.

Late in the meeting, the council was holding a public hearing that drew many residents in favor of operating the CODA Concert House at 2120 E. 24th St., where house concerts are presented. Council had to consider whether a special use permit would be issued for the continued use of the property as a concert hall and whether special conditions would be imposed because certain people testified at a previous Planning Commission meeting. and zoning that there was noise and traffic issues with the site in a residential area.

A number of people, including neighbors, said that none of this nuisance resulted from the concert hall.

©2022 The Joplin Globe, distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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