Significant investments by telecom companies are making it easier to stay in touch across Door County.
Within the past couple of years, NSight (owner of Cellcom), AT&T and Charter Communications have invested millions in upgrading their broadband and cellular connections so that the people who live, work or visit Door County are able to stay connected. Those improvements are an essential piece of the area’s economic development, says Sam Perlman, economic development manager for Door County Economic Development Corporation. Not only do the upgrades help area businesses and educational institutions, they can also serve as a recruiting tool encouraging seasonal residents to stay longer or maybe start a business in the region, he says.
“If some of our visitors are able to telecommute from here, they may be interested in spending more time here, which improves our economy, or maybe they’ll think about bringing their business here or starting one up,” Perlman says. “It just provides more opportunities.”
On May 8, the DCEDC will host broadband roundtable events in Sturgeon Bay, Egg Harbor and Sister Bay to educate residents about the different options available. Perlman says the organization is also looking at putting a map together showing provider coverage in various parts of the county so businesses and residents know more about their options.
“We’ve seen huge improvements in broadband coverage and 4G service as well as reliability throughout the county,” Perlman says.
That reliability will be enjoyed not only by local residents, but also by the many tourists who visit the county each year. Josh VanLieshout, the tourism zone chairperson, says that in 2012 the county saw a growth in room tax collections for the third year in a row.
He says the county saw a 6.4 percent growth in room tax collections during 2012.
The lodging industry wasn’t the only one seeing growth. Door County saw the collections from its half-percent county sales tax grow 3 percent.
With those kinds of numbers, Perlman says there’s a lot to be optimistic about. “Door County’s economy is a three-legged stool built on strong manufacturers, strong agricultural trade, and, of course, tourism,” he said. “It’s all moving in the right direction.”
A CLOSER LOOK
Sturgeon Bay redevelopment moves ahead
The Door County Economic Development Corporation along with the City of Sturgeon Bay are still on track to convert an area on the west side of the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal into a tourist destination.
The plan is to take an old agriculture co-op and redevelop into a facility housing a brew pub, a four-seasons market and other businesses. The four-seasons market is seen as a way to kick off culinary tourism in the area by featuring products made in the county.
The project also includes adding a hotel and expanding the Door County Maritime Museum as well as building workforce housing at the corner of Madison and Maple streets.
“The city is right now trying to acquire the property and we have grants in place so we can hopefully get moving soon,” says Sam Perlman, the DCEDC’s economic development manager.
ON THE WEB
Door County Economic Development Corporation:
Door County Visitor Bureau: