$22.5 Million Light Plant and 100% Fiber Network poise New Hampton, IA for Growth
New Hampton’s Municipal Light Plant is investing $22.5 million in the City’s electrical and telecommunications infrastructure. The investment will address needed improvements to the city’s electrical system and will start up a municipal-owned telecommunications utility. The New Hampton Municipal Utility (NHMU) will provide local service for internet, phone and television.
Crews began preparing for a 100% fiber optic network in June of 2020. Despite some site surveys being on hold due to Covid-19, the utility work proceeded with the project by preparing homes and businesses to become “fiber-ready.”
New Hampton Municipal Light Plant General Manager, Brian Quirk regarded the improvements as an investment in the City’s future. In a March 2020 article in the New Hampton Tribune, Quirk references the support of the County stating: “they were willing to invest in their community because they knew, unless they did it themselves, the big companies weren’t coming to New Hampton.”
Electrical upgrades planned will modernize the power grid and move several lines below ground. With 70% of the city’s lines currently above ground, this number will reduce substantially to 30%.
The project was funded with the sale of bonds. The combined electrical upgrades and telecommunications changes will save the City hundreds of thousands of dollars, thanks to use of the same fiber in some parts of the city.
According to the New Hampton Tribune, the Light Plant Board studied the telecommunications issue for four years, ultimately creating a Telecommunications Board. A former Dollar General store was purchased and will be renovated to serve as the as the headquarters for the Telecommunication operations. It will also be renovated to serve as a business incubator, to help small businesses start-up, before moving into another location.
- energy development
- quality of life