Comcast helps fund new computer lab in Merrillville
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent January 1, 2014 11:02PM
MERRILLVILLE — The town is developing a computer lab for seniors and students, with the aid of a $30,000 donation from Comcast.
Clerk-Treasurer Eugene Guernsey said he asked the Schaumburg, Ill.-based cable company to donate a portion of the cable company’s $195,614,33 escrow account to the town for the purpose of developing the computer lab.
The account includes the $100,000 surety bond that was required in the original franchise agreement between the town and US Cable of Northern Indiana plus interest, Guernsey said.
The agreement was transferred to Comcast in 2002, when it assumed responsibility for the cable system.
“All the other cities gave their money back. I asked them if they could donate some back to the town,” said Guernsey.
He said the computer lab will provide a place for seniors who need to use computers for the Affordable Care Act and other issues and an after-school program in which high school students can help younger students with school work for a small fee.
He said the money will go to the high school students. Seniors will use the computers at no cost.
Guernsey said there are still some issues that will need to be figured out, such as how many computers the money will buy, where in the town hall building the lab will be located and the hours of operation.
Council President Carol Miano, D-3rd, said the donation is both good for Comcast and great for the town.
“We’ll have a grand opening when the lab is ready. It will be a very big event,” Miano said.
A spokeswoman for Comcast could not be reached for comment, but in a letter to Guernsey, Debra Piscola, of Comcast, stated the town should retain $30,000 from the escrow account for development of a computer lab.
Piscola further stated that Comcast will provide a complimentary Internet connection to the computer lab as part of its support to the development and utilization of the lab.