Vision:TOLEDO is proud to announce that Toledo Washington is one of only five communities in the United States to be awarded the opportunity to participate in President Obama’s Cool and Connected Pilot Program. Representatives from Vision:Toledo, City of Toledo, and ToledoTel were told by program coordinators that 250 letters of Interest for the program were submitted. According to the press release from USDA(United States Department of Agriculture) and EPA(Environmental Protection Agency), “Partner communities will receive direct technical assistance from a team of experts to develop strategies and an action plan for using planned or existing broadband service to create connected, economically vibrant main streets and small-town neighborhoods. By combining broadband service with other local assets, such as cultural and recreational amenities, this assistance can help communities attract and retain investment and people, revitalize downtowns, diversify local economies, and improve walkability.”

Below are a few questions we have been asked thus far:

What does this mean for Toledo? No one is exactly sure yet. We do know that the award is for assistance and expertise to help discover what it is we’d like to do, and expert assistance to create a plan of action. We do know that the aim of the program is to leverage existing broadband and other local assets, to create social benefits for Toledo.

When will this happen? Toledo representatives will be given a packet of homework and will work with the program’s team via conferences calls to prepare, and a workshop will be held some time in November in Toledo.

How can I find out more? You can view the official press release here. You can find out more about the Cool and Connect pilot program here. Vision:Toledo will remain committed to providing its community with updated information as it is made available. You can connect with us on facebook and if you are not “into” facebook, you can sign up to receive daily posts about what’s going on in Toledo here at the “Other Toledo column” There is a signup field at the bottom of the “Other Toledo” page.