A gaggle of area residents will assemble this Thursday evening, say organizers, to brainstorm Asheville’s ongoing efforts to win the favor of Google, which has promised to install superfast — 1 gigabit/second — Internet connectivity in one small-to-medium-sized town somewhere in America.
“We are encouraging people from all walks of life to come: artists, musicians, theater folks, filmmakers, small-business people, the faith community, outdoor enthusiasts, the unemployed, students, techies and non-techies — everyone who loves Asheville and wants to see it thrive,” said Michael Muller, who’s been helping organize the event.
“The goal is to have folks understand what’s being offered so they can better imagine what could happen — for them personally and for the city they love,” Muller added. The deadline for cities and their residents to apply to Google is March 26.
The “town hall” session starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 18, in the Civic Center Banquet Hall.
It’s designed to provide the public with a briefing on what Google is proposing to do, how Asheville might fit into those plans, the efforts to-date by the community, but — most importantly — to directly tap the creative wellspring that is Asheville, according to Ben Teague, executive director of the Economic Development Coalition.
Scheduled speakers include Teague, Troy Tolle of Digital Chalk, José Ibarra of Applied Solutions Group, and Asheville City Council member Gordon Smith.
“There will be a multimedia presentation and we are hoping to stream the meeting live on the Web,” Teague said.
There will also be breakout sessions to allow people to focus on their particular areas of interests. Additionally, everyone will have opportunity to record video testimonials and computers will be set up to allow the public to fill out community applications to Google.
The WNC state delegation and other elected officials have been invited. Rep. Bruce Goforth has confirmed he will attend.
Concurrent with the Google town hall session, area bloggers will be holding a meet-up at Posana Café on Pack Square in downtown Asheville from 6-8 p.m. Gordon Smith promises to address this meeting at 7 p.m., in addition to playing a key role in the town hall session.
The blogger session is also open to Facebookers and tweeters, says BlogAsheville bemusedly, and promises beer and conviviality. For more information on the session, go here.
To follow the ongoing Asheville Twitter discussion about its Google dreams, go here.