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Fiber optic internet comes to Cornwall

CORNWALL — The wait for high-speed internet in Cornwall is nearly over as fiber optic cable has begun to roll out across town. The dozen-or-so Optimum trucks and work crews were a topic of conversation during Cornwall’s Board of Selectmen meeting on March 7.

“Probably the biggest excitement in town this week has been the army of trucks and bundles of cable that is being installed all over town,” said First Selectman Gordon Ridgway. “It’s impressive to see how much cable is being put out.”

Ridgway said Optimum has not provided a timetable in regard to activating the new system. He has been in contact with the internet provider and will provide updates as they arise.

Frontier has also begun fiber optic installation in Cornwall, albeit on a smaller scale.

“We may go from zero to a competitive fiber environment,” Ridgway said, adding that he plans to get in touch with Frontier to learn more about its expansion to Cornwall.

Following a request for a budget increase to Project SAGE (formerly Women’s Support Services), the non-profit’s director Betsey Mauro attended the March 7 meeting to provide additional information to the Board. Project SAGE offers support services to victims of domestic violence across the Northwest corner.

“SAGE is an acronym, which means support, advocate, guide, and educate,” said Mauro. “That’s the essence of what we do.”

Project SAGE requested a $1,500 annual budget increase from Cornwall to bring their total to $3,000. Mauro said the funds are needed due to increased demand in services across their catchment area.

“Over the last two years we’ve had a 30% increase in our client load,” said Mauro. She added that their 24/7 hotline saw a 65% increase and the services they offer in Torrington Court went up by 44%.

Mauro said Project SAGE is funded from a range of sources including grants, individual donors, fundraising, and local governments. The Board voted unanimously to approve Project SAGE’s request.

“Betsey does a wonderful job and it is so needed by so many people,” said Selectwoman Priscilla Pavel.

Ridgway provided an update on the town’s composting project, for which an application was recently submitted to the state. He said there was a “slight development” when a response was received to inform the town that their transfer station is a habitat for the bog turtle.

The Board has a preapplication meeting with their application concierge scheduled for Wednesday, March 15.

“She, I believe, is going to send us some guidance on how to make our project friendly for endangered species,” said Ridgway.

During public comment, a reporter informed the Board that Cornwall had been ranked as number 100 on a list of the 150 best small towns to visit in the United States by familydestinationsguide.com.

When asked about their message to potential visitors, Ridgway said, “There are a lot of reasons to come here and there’s also a lot of reasons to live here.”

“It’s always good to be recognized,” added Ridgway. “I always feel like the town is enriched by new people coming, visiting, even for a short period of time.”

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