Downtown’s Woodruff Park, already surrounded by numerous eateries and retail shops, is soon to receive a new amenity: free Wi-Fi.
As of tomorrow, thanks to a partnership between Georgia’s Own Credit Union, 100 Peachtree, and Southwest Airlines, free, high-speed internet will be offered across the park for all to access.
The initiative is funded by Southwest Airlines’s Heart of the Community grant, which helps enliven public spaces while encouraging people to bond with their neighbors and environment.
Woodruff Park has long been a hangout not just for downtown Atlanta’s business community, but a significant contingent of its homeless population.
With easier access to free internet, many indigent people could have a new avenue to search for jobs and social services, the logic goes.
Many homeless people used to find refuge in downtown’s Central Atlanta Library, where they could use the computers to find resources.
When the building, just a block north of Woodruff Park, closed for renovations, the library system launched a program that allowed people to borrow laptops three days a week in the park.
But computers were limited, and, because the program operated only on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., it left plenty of time where underserved or underemployed people didn’t have easy access to the internet.
As of Friday, though, downtown denizens will need only an internet-capable device to take advantage of the new service.
It’s not the first program of its kind in metro Atlanta.
Three years ago, the City of Atlanta booted up internet routers at both Piedmont and Grant Parks, according to Patch.
Just months before that, the City of Decatur kicked off a program of its own that brought free Wi-Fi to downtown Decatur, the Oakhurst business district, Oakhurst Park, Glenlake Park, McKoy Park, and Adair Park.
Friday’s launch of the Woodruff Park service comes in concert with the park’s Food Truck Fridays and Lunch on Broad event. Festivities kick off at 11 a.m. at 91 Peachtree Street.
- Wi-Fi Hotspots Help Homeless Get Back on Their Feet [U.S. News and World Report]
- Free Public WiFi Networks Now Publicly Available in Piedmont and Grant Parks [Patch]