The following was sent to the Bloomingtonian Tuesday:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug 22, 2023
For more information, please contact:
Rick Dietz, Director, Information & Technology Services
[email protected] or 812-349-3454
Angela Van Rooy, Interim Communications Director, Office of the Mayor
[email protected] or 812-349-3505
New Public Wi-Fi Access in Rev. Ernest D. Butler Park and Crestmont Park
Bloomington, Ind.– As part of continuing efforts to improve digital equity in our community, the City of Bloomington is pleased to announce public Wi-Fi in two additional City parks with work currently underway in two more.
Funded through the City’s Recover Forward initiative using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, the Wi-Fi in Parks project is part of the City’s 2020 Digital Equity Strategic Plan, which aims to reduce digital inequities in Bloomington. Among other recommendations like expanding digital equity grants, staffing, and securing high-speed fiber-based internet service citywide, the Digital Equity Strategic Plan calls for the City to evaluate strategically expanding Wi-Fi at City facilities such as public parks.
“I’m pleased that we are expanding free public WiFi into more of our parks and public spaces, where all residents have equal access to this basic utility,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “This is another way the City supports health and equity among our residents, and expands the opportunity to connect and participate in the digital world, regardless of income or location.”
The first round of parks activated as part of the City’s Digital Equity program included Peoples Park, 501 E. Kirkwood Ave. and the Waldron, Hill & Buskirk Park, 331 S. Washington St. This second round of digital equity Wi-Fi deployments includes Rev. Ernest D. Butler Park, 812 W. 9th St. and Crestmont Park, 1100 N. Illinois St.
Wi-Fi services are now available at Butler Park and the playground area of Crestmont Park at speeds up to 100 Megabits per second (Mbps). In addition to a new playground and two picnic shelters, Butler Park includes a paved connector trail to the nearby B-Line Trail, as well as the Butler Park Community Gardens and a fenced ballfield. Crestmont Park is the home of the city’s first 18-hole disc golf course, established in 2000 by the Bloomington Disc Golf Club. Wi-Fi service at Crestmont Park is available primarily in the playground area.
The City Information & Technology Services (ITS) Department is planning a third round of public Wi-Fi placement at Seminary Park, 100 W. 2nd St. and at Bryan Park, starting at the Bryan Park Pool area. New LED lighting and pre-installed conduit within Seminary Park allows for the placement of Wi-Fi access points to serve this area. Work at Seminary and Bryan Parks has already begun and is expected to be completed in Fall 2023 and offer service at or above 100 Mbps.
About Digital Equity
Digital Equity is defined by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) as “a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy.”
The City of Bloomington and Hoosier Networks, LLC continue to collaborate on a groundbreaking digital equity program, one of the most innovative broadband public-private collaborations in the country, to help low-income and digitally-disadvantaged households access top-quality internet services.
Bloomington has been recognized by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance as a 2021 and 2022 Digital Inclusion Trailblazer. Learn more about the City of Bloomington’s Digital Equity program at bloomington.in.gov/digital-equity. The City’s Digital Equity Strategic Plan is available at bton.in/-NQkR. Learn more about the National Digital Inclusion Alliance at digitalinclusion.org.
City-Wide High-Speed Fiber Internet Project
The City of Bloomington and Hoosier Fiber Networks continue to collaborate on one of the country’s most comprehensive, inclusive, and innovative public-private partnerships to help low-income and digitally disadvantaged households access top-quality internet service.
Eligible low-income residents may qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Plan (ACP) to receive at least a symmetrical 250 megabits per second (Mpbs) plan at no cost to the user if ACP is applied. The City and Hoosier Fiber Networks will together provide the “drop” connection to qualifying households.
The City of Bloomington partnered with Meridiam/Hoosier Fiber Networks in 2021 to bring high-speed internet access to all of Bloomington. Learn more about the project at: bloomington.in.gov/news/2023/04/04/5572
About Recover Forward
Recover Forward is a multi-year initiative to help our community rebound and thrive as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, moving toward greater racial, economic, and climate justice as we do so.
More than $15 million has been approved to date by the City Council for critical investments. Recover Forward Bloomington includes $9 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and $6 million from City reserve funds. Learn more at bloomington.in.gov/recoverforward.
About Parks and Recreation
Bloomington Parks and Recreation is a department of the City of Bloomington, and is responsible for the management of 41 park sites that include more than 2,300 acres of greenspace, plus 300+ programs and events planned annually for the benefit of the Bloomington community. For more information about city parks, or where to find a park, playground, ball court or trail near you, visit bloomington.in.gov/parks or download the official Parks mobile app OuterSpatial, available for free in the App Store or Google Play.