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Davenport looking to add free WiFi access to handful of parks

The project would bring free WiFi to five different parks.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — The Davenport City Council is looking to add free WiFi to five city parks around the city. The project is still in its early stages, but is on the agenda for the Committee of the Whole to discuss March 16, 2022.

The project would cost $86,591 dollars. The committee is voting to approve a contract with MetroNet of Evansville, Indiana. 

Becca Niles with the Davenport Parks and Recreation Department says it's a way to further allow people a connection while enjoying the outdoors. 

"Any chance to increase access to that to the internet and the data that's available there is going to be important. And I'm going to be a big proponent of having people outdoors and being able to enjoy nature along with being able to access information," says Niles. 

City council is looking to add the WiFi at Cork Hill Park, Emeis Park Pavilion, Fejervary Pavilion, Herington Park, and Centennial Park Pavilion. The funding is coming from American Rescue Plan dollars and is just one of many projects to get its funding from ARPA dollars

"Being able to create spaces that are more activated for people to come out and enjoy themselves, whether it's on an individual basis, with friends, with family, when you have people in public spaces, enjoying themselves and using it in a positive way it's a good thing," says Niles. 

For Tracy Ripslinger, it would be nice to provide an option for her grandkids to work on school work while also being outside. 

"Maybe they can get on and do some homework or you know, some enrichment in the fresh air," says Ripslinger. 

Davenport mom Ashley Dipple sees the chance for parents to be able to work while getting their kids outside. 

"A lot of people are working from home so then they could bring their kids and they could play as the mom works," says Dipple. 

The parks chosen were specifically picked to fit ARPA funding criteria. That includes increasing access to broadband in underserved communities. 

If passed by the Davenport committee of the whole, city council will vote on the matter at a later date. 

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