Door County Fills Broadband Coordinator Position
Jessica Hatch of Baileys Harbor is the new Door County Broadband Coordinator. She worked for nearly six years at Door County Broadband — her last time in operations management — just before she started on April 11 in the county.
“Part of what I had done was partnering and writing grants with municipalities and community outreach to try to expand broadband services throughout the county,” she said. .
Hatch said she got off to a trot as efforts began to organize the committee and develop plans to help municipalities across the county. In the meantime, she is in contact with all the municipalities to introduce herself and find out where each is on the road to better broadband service.
“[Some] communities have just been a bit more active historically,” she said, such as Baileys Harbor, Liberty Grove, Nasewaupee and Sebastopol. “The others, I’m just trying to follow to see where they are.”
Its Broadband Oversight Committee was formally established this year and is chaired by Supervisor Hugh Zettle, with new Supervisor Jeff Miller as a member. The others are members of the community: Robert Cornell, Brian Weiss, Kurt Kiefer, Nate Bell, Nate Smithson, Erick Schrier and the new executive director of the Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC), Michelle Lawrie. The committee alternates are Julie Schmelzer and Robert Kufrin.
The county created the broadband station with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, which can be spent on a wide range of government operations. The county received $5,374,185 in ARPA funding and allocated $1 million over three years for the broadband initiative. The stipend included $152,000 in 2022 for the new employee’s salary, benefits and start-up costs.
The main responsibilities of the coordinator, according to the job description when the position was created, are the overall coordination of the FiberNet initiative, as indicated in the broadband assessment report that the DCEDC completed at the end of the last year.