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Silicon Prairie? Nebraska looks to reinvent itself
We're all familiar with Project Edge - the data center project in Kearney. But the high tech project isn't an anomaly in the Heartland. The farm-filled Midwest is becoming the Silicon Prairie.
This term "Silicon Prairie" is gaining popularity.
Yeah, it just shows that the Midwest is gaining momentum in the high-tech industry.
The state of Iowa is already home to two major technology companies.
Here in Nebraska, cities like Kearney are jumping on the bandwagon too.
"Nebraska's very attractive right now," said Kearney City Manager Michael Morgan.
The state boasts a large amount of undeveloped land and factors like weather, water supply and low power rates boost appeal.
"Nebraska's legislature made some changes to allow different power rate structures that are more attractive and the Governor's very focused on tax policies as well that will assist these larges types of companies," said Morgan.
Data centers are filled with rows of servers. These servers are the heart of a company storing large amounts of data.
"Due to cooling requirements the weather has an impact on that. Available water supply has an impact," Morgan said.
And Nebraska can supply that. But, it's not all about what can we do for them.
"It's to enhance our diversity. So, if one sector of employment is suffering, we have other sectors that may be doing good," said Morgan.
This nearly 170 acre plot of land is set aside for Project Edge.
"Project Edge is one of the largest potential data service projects in the world."
Facebook, Apple and recently Amazon are rumored to be the interested company. But, last month news broke that Iowa won the bid.
"Our belief is that nothing is certain until something's actually built," said Morgan.
Around $2 million has gone into the preparation of this land for Project Edge, but even if Project Edge doesn't end up going through, the city is hoping this land will still be used for a data farm.
"We'll continue to market it because it's ready to go. We'll look for similar businesses because that's what our community said we're interested in," said Morgan.
Morgan said that the city is gaining notoriety because of the work on Project Edge. There are other companies interested in bringing their business to the city.
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