Town hall meeting held Monday in Cobden

A "state of the village" presentation and discussion about the accessibility of high speed broadband Internet service highlighted a town hall meeting held Monday night in Cobden.

An event of national significance also was part of the community gathering.

During the meeting, a moment of silence was observed in honor of those who died and were wounded during last weekend's shootings in Tucson, Ariz.

Monday night's meeting was hosted by the Cobden Community & Business Association, CCBA.

Between 40 and 50 people were on hand for the event, which was held at the Old Feed Store.

Those attending included community members and business people, Cobden village government officials and representatives of several businesses and organizations which are interested in providing high speed Internet service to the Cobden/Alto Pass/Makanda/Giant City areas of northern Union County and southern Jackson County.

The meeting was the result of a partnership involving Connect SI, the Village of Cobden and CCBA.

Connect SI is a collaborative, regional economic strategy for the southern 20 counties of Illinois. Union County is one of those 20 counties.

Connect SI explains on its website that it is an "initiative built upon broadband connectivity, with the concept that the region's dispersed assets can be connected to make Southern Illinois a driving force in the world economy."

Prior to Monday night's meeting in Cobden, Kathy Lively, executive director of Connect SI, had said she knew how badly broadband Internet service is needed in the proposed service area.

Lively was joined at the  meeting by Connect SI director Rex Duncan. Both highlighted the important role broadband Internet service can play in the growth and development of the Cobden area and the rest of Southern Illinois.

"We're really looking for a regional solution here," Duncan said.

The meeting gave those present an opportunity to meet with Internet service providers. Continued discussion about the matter is expected.

State of the Village Highlighted

Monday's gathering also was highlighted by a state of the village presentation which was given by Cobden Mayor Molly Beckley.

Before Beckley began her comments, she asked for a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the past week's tragedy in Tucson.

Beckley noted that the CCBA and the village share common goals which focus on continued development in Cobden.

Beckley shared an update on a local water project. Cobden will be supplying customers in Alto Pass with water.

She praised work done by village employees.

Officers Installed

New CCBA officers were installed Monday night. Jill Baldwin is president of the association. Rose Hogan is vice president. Becki Dielfield is secretary. Alan Eddington is treasurer.

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