San Leandro has another fiber optic feather in its cap.
Days after its libraries turned on the fastest Internet service of any public library system in California, the city has won a grant to enhance its attractiveness to high-tech and advanced manufacturing industries.
On Friday Mayor Stephen Cassidy announced that San Leandro has won a $2.1 million grant from the United States Economic Development Administration (EDA).
The money will be used to add 7.5 miles to the Lit San Leandro project that is the brainchild of software entrepreneur Patrick Kennedy. He has invested $3 million in private money to run 11 miles of fiber optic cable through the city's industrial area.
"The EDA grant will enable us to bring Lit San Leandro to hundreds of additional companies engaged in advanced manufacturing, medical research, green energy and sustainable resources, food processing, and digital video, print, and media services,” Cassidy said in a statement.
Work on the expansion project is expected to take about a year and will commence as soon as all the funding agreements have been signed. When it's finished, San Leandro will have an 18-mile network that will be among the fastest Internet utilities of any city in the nation.
The expansions funded by the EDA grant are (see map for additional detail):
- West on Marina Boulevard to the shoreline, and through the Catalina industrial area. These segments will provide connectivity to San Leandro’s shoreline, enhancing the City’s ability to attract the high-tech tenants envisioned under its privately-financed Marina Shoreline project.
- Through the Alvarado/Teagarden industrial area. This expansion will make the Lit San Leandro network accessible to over a hundred businesses that presently suffer from a lack of adequate broadband options.
- Northwest on Doolittle Drive, from Davis Street to the Oakland border and around the Adams industrial area. This expansion will provide service to under-served industrial areas of San Leandro and facilitate potential regional connections to the City and Port of Oakland.
The city estimates that over 950 existing businesses, employing about 8,300 people, are located within 200 meters of the proposed expansion segments.
The hope is that vacant and underutilized properties will become more attractive once they are accessible to the Lit San Leandro fiber system.
Ultimately city leaders hope to make San Leandro a destination for cutting edge industry as it was once a center of manufacturing in the era of heavy industry.
Read more about San Leandro's emerging companies in the Patch archives.