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The City of Hudson and Western Reserve Academy were proud to welcome a globally known economic development organization to the region on Tuesday, January 24 during a special event at Western Reserve Academy’s new Center for Technology, Innovation & Creativity. The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) is an international body that annually honors cities who create inclusive prosperity, tackle social and governance challenges, and enrich their quality of life.
In recent years, Ohio cities including Columbus, Cleveland and Dublin have received the prestigious “Intelligent Community” designation, alongside cities as diverse as Hsinchu County, Taiwan; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Ipswich, Queensland, Australia; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Surrey, British Columbia.
Jim Stifler, Economic Development Director for the City of Hudson, says the ICF’s selection of Hudson as the site of the January 24 summit is testament to Hudson’s progressive attitude and technological infrastructure.
“Hudson is honored that the Intelligent Community Forum selected us to host this important meeting. ICF’s agenda is to encourage smart development in a broadband economy, and Hudson has shown its strong commitment to leveraging broadband as it continues to expand its 21st Century business base and quality of life advantages.”
Through local broadband – including fiber, cable, satellite and wireless – individuals, small businesses, institutions and local governments gain access to worldwide information resources and a broad range of tools to connect both locally and globally. These connections are at the heart of 21st Century learning, communications and a global economy.
The City of Hudson became the first Gigabit City in Northeast Ohio by launching Velocity Broadband, the City’s own fiber broadband internet service for Hudson businesses.
“Cities with a commitment to harnessing broadband show more than a command of technology,” Stifler said. “They show a change mindset, as well as a nimbleness and worldview that are so important to broadening the knowledge and horizons of their citizens.”
Stifler said Western Reserve Academy’s new Center for Technology, Innovation & Creativity was the perfect venue for the meeting because of its forward-thinking design and equipment, but mostly because of its mission.
“In Hudson, we have an incredible educational resource in Western Reserve Academy,” Stifler said. “Faculty and administration at the school dreamed of a modern, collaborative learning space with every technological tool available to take projects from concept to completion. This dream came to life in the Center for Technology, Innovation & Creativity.”
The Center is a 6,000-square-foot creative facility on WRA’s campus. The space is devoted to idea development, collaboration and problem solving as part of the school’s evolving curriculum and “pioneering academics” mindset. Matt Gerber, WRA’s Director of Information & Education Technology, says The Center unleashes the potential to combine science, technology, math, the humanities and the arts to blend educational disciplines, encourage collaboration and enhance learning on campus.
WRA Head of School Chris Burner says he was looking forward to hosting the ICF, officials from the City of Hudson and Hudson City Schools, and more.
“Hudson’s educators, developers, parents and students all have exciting parts to play in creating a vibrant 21st Century economy in our town,” Burner, said. “We are fortunate to live, work, teach and do business in a place as progressive as it is historic. Hudson will continue its reputation as a place where history happens, well into the future.”