The city’s Wi-Fi network, expected to be completed by May 1, will cover downtown Douglasville, Hunter Memorial Park and Jessie Davis Park, almost 60 acres collectively, making it one of the largest public Wi-Fi networks in Georgia.
According to Jeff Noles, executive director for the city of Douglasville Development Authority, the Wi-Fi service will cover the downtown areas of Plaza East, Plaza West and O’Neal Plaza, “with some overlap and bleed out around the conference center” across Church Street. The current Wi-Fi project is being built “with the potential for expansion.”
Mayor Harvey Persons calls this “robust” system “one of the premier outdoor systems in the state.”
“It will be a great service for the city to offer,” said Bennett Oliver, city director for parks and recreation.
“It definitely brings the city into the 21st century. ‘Connectivity’ is the word all cities use now,” he said. “Everybody with a tablet or other device will be able to have internet access.
“They will be able to watch a baseball game, and can take photos or send photos to relatives.”
Noles said, “Building a free, public Wi-Fi network for downtown and two major parks will be a significant asset for the citizens and visitors of Douglasville, enhancing the experience of our festivals, parades, concerts, sports and other events throughout the year.”
Network access will be free, and the equipment will be paid for by Google as part of its community outreach program. This joint venture is a continuing investment the Google community outreach program is making to the city.
“Google is committed to giving back to our data center communities and free municipal Wi-Fi will help the city of Douglasville continue to be a leading metro Atlanta community, as well as attract new businesses to the area,” said Walter Susong, technical program manager at Google.
According to the mayor, bringing Wi-Fi to Jessie Davis Park will be a major benefit to the community’s children.
“Plans are under way to provide a computer lab at Jessie Davis Park,” Persons said.
“So many of our children do not have access to wireless or computers,” he added. “Google is excited for the opportunities the project will open for the children.”
City Council member Samuel Davis said one of the rooms at Jessie Davis Park already has been converted for a computer lab — thanks in part to Douglasville Tiger Cub youth football league volunteers who contributed to the efforts.City council members Samuel Davis and LaShun Burr-Danley also have taken a great interest in what the project will offer the Northside community.
“The citizens can’t wait,” said Davis. “We finally got the project moving and off the ground. It won’t be long before people will be ‘Googling’ all over the city.”