ITHACA, N.Y. — Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD) announced it will use grant funding of more than $404,000 to support the “Cayuga Data Juice–Broadband Connectivity” project.
It’s a 17-mile, fiber broadband trunk extension from Ithaca to the recently retired Cayuga coal plant in Lansing.
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awarded the money.
TCAD is a private nonprofit economic-development organization serving Ithaca and Tompkins County.
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic-development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian region. ARC’s mission is to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia, per a description in a TCAD news release.
This middle-mile, “dark” fiber trunk is “critical to the success” of a 100-megawatt data center proposed for Cayuga’s 434-acre site. Its transition represents a $100 million investment — “one of the largest in Tompkins County’s history” — and will create more than 100 construction jobs, TCAD said.
Funding for the grant award was made via the ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) initiative. POWER helps communities and regions affected by job losses in coal mining; coal power-plant operations; and coal-related supply-chain industries due to the “changing economics” of America’s energy production.
Additional support for the project was provided by Easton, Maryland–based Heorot Power Management (HPM), which operates the Cayuga coal plan, and the Tompkins County Development Corporation.
`To date, ARC has invested more than $238 million in 293 projects, in 353 counties across Appalachia since 2015, per TCAD.