Free Wi-Fi coming to parks
It won't be long before Canby residents will be able to enjoy free Wi-Fi in three of Canby's parks. Project leaders, DirectLink and the city of Canby, are making it official with an upcoming ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The three parks to receive free Wi-Fi are Wait, Legacy and Locust. According to a news release from DirectLink, the parks collectively attract more than 75,000 users every year.
Once complete, the system will be capable of accommodating up to hundreds of simultaneous users at each park. The Wi-Fi will be available during regular open hours.
Installation at Wait Park began in April and will be available for public use at the end of July. To celebrate, DirectLink and the city are holding a "COVID-safe" ribbon-cutting and Facebook Live feed at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, at Wait Park.
Construction at Legacy Park also is underway with an estimated activation date by the end of August.
Fiber construction has begun for Locust Park, which is the final piece of the project, DirectLink noted in the release. The company intends the project to be complete and open for users at all locations by the end of September.
The free Wi-Fi will not only provide dependable internet access for TikToks in the park but also for those who need it most.
"The library is one of the only free opportunities for Wi-Fi within Canby city limits. Reduced hours may affect someone's ability to apply for a new job, work on schoolwork, or apply for benefits by not having the access to free Wi-Fi," said Jamie Stickel, the city's economic development director. "We need additional opportunities for our citizens to not just survive, but to thrive."
DirectLink and the city also hope the Wi-Fi will support tourism and local industry, per the news release.
"We aim to address the digital divide so our neighbors who may not be able to afford home internet service can still apply for jobs, access health care and school portals," said Paul Hauer, DirectLink president. "The implementation of this Wi-Fi in popular city parks will also help to create a viable, desirable benefit that could bring in new residents, tourism and industry."
DirectLink and the city have worked together for the past couple of years to make the project possible. Now, a grant will help them along. The groups have won the Smart Rural Community Grant from NTCA, the Rural Broadband Association, in the amount of $5,000 toward the project.
"Smart Rural Community? is a growing network of innovative broadband providers delivering the internet's fastest speeds in some of the most remote and rural communities of our country," said Shirley Bloomfield, NTCA CEO. "I applaud DirectLink for its commitment to delivering broadband-enabled opportunities that drive innovation and promote economic development in the community."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.