By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
UPDATED – The Cookeville City Council voted Thursday to accept the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant awarded to the city for installation of Wi-Fi coverage in the downtown Cookeville area.
COOKEVILLE – The Cookeville City Council will vote Thursday whether to accept the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant awarded to the city for installation of Wi-Fi coverage in the downtown Cookeville area.
The city of Cookeville recently applied to the ARC for $26,000 in grant funding to provide 25 wireless access points to serve the 20-block downtown Cookeville area. The city would be required to match the grant with $26,000 for a total of $52,000.
If accepted, the free Wi-Fi will provide visitors with connectivity to a number of businesses, restaurants, attractions, and government offices in the area.
According to City Manager Mike Davidson, initial plans for the grant focus on ensuring coverage of the west side area and continuing eastward as far as the funding allows.
Every day, nearly 25,000 people cycle in and out of the city with the downtown area becoming a gathering place for visitors, business professionals and residents to find entertainment, local eateries, unique businesses, and recreation opportunities.
The proposed convention center is also located in the midst of the area to be covered.
Providing free downtown Wi-Fi will attract more visitors and allow them to experience the area in a way unmatched in the region and most of the state.
“I haven’t been to a lot of places that have accessible Wi-Fi like that, so I think it’s a step in the right direction for the way we want Cookeville to grow,” said Laurin Wheaton, Cookeville vice-mayor.
The Wi-Fi system will be its own separate system that will not be connected to the public Wi-Fi now available in Dogwood Park.