City of Sarasota to launch pilot program featuring free Wi-Fi in four city parks

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park the first to have service activated

Although neighborhood and City of Sarasota leaders were set to kick off the city’s Free Wi-Fi in the Parks pilot program with a cord-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 10, the expected effects of Tropical Storm Nicole have prompted the delay of that action until 10 a.m. on Tuesday,Nov. 15, city staff announced on Nov. 9.

The celebration will take place at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, the city has announced. That facility, located at 2523 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.Way, will the first city park in the program to offer free Wi-Fi, a news release notes.

“This will enhance quality of life for residents and visitors alike,” said City Commissioner Hagen Brody, who championed the proposal and brought the idea to the City Commission for consideration in 2021, the release adds. “COVID-19 kick-started the initiative to bring broadband connectivity to public locations in our community,” Brody continued in the release. “Having free Wi-Fi in the parks will support and encourage families to be outside and enjoy the fresh air while doing homework or conducting business. Thank you to my fellow commissioners and staff for supporting this initiative.”

The pilot program includes three other public parks, the release notes: Arlington Park, Bayfront Park and Payne Park. Bayfront Park will be the next park activated, the release says; that is planned for early December. The remaining two parks will go online soon after that, the release notes.

“The $470,000 pilot program is being funded with federal American Rescue Plan dollars,” the release adds.