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Parks and Rec looks into Wi-Fi at Riverview Park

October 26, 2012
By DAVID ALEXANDER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Marshalltown Parks and Recreation is looking into making wireless Internet access available at Riverview Park.

The plan is still in the investigative stage, and the department has yet to establish whether such an initiative is feasible either from a logistical or financial standpoint.

Terry Gray, parks and recreation director, said the department's information technology guy has been out the past few days. She and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will have more information when he returns and is able to look into several aspects of the proposal, including what it would take to provide wireless access to the entire park.

Article Photos

Marshalltown Parks and Recreation is investigating the feasibility of providing wireless Internet access at Riverview Park. The router would be located in the shelter house, shown here Thursday afternoon.

Ideally, Gray said she would like to see the entire park have Wi-Fi, but at the very least, it would prove an asset for the areas surrounding the campground. The router would be in the park's shelter house.

"If it would be a draw or attract more campers," she said. "Why not look into it? If it's workable, if it's doable why not go have a picnic and use something like that?"

Sherry Anrtzen, executive officer with the State Parks Bureau, said Wi-Fi access has not really caught on at state parks throughout the state, but is unaware of any trends at local parks like Riverview Park.

A general Internet search returned no results for local Iowa parks with Wi-Fi access.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board discussed the prospect of adding wireless to the park at its Oct. 17 meeting. However, since the board did not have a quorum, the topic was merely a discussion.

Gray said many of the high school students attending that meeting seemed to support the idea.

However, Gray said the board is seeking public input as to whether pursing access at the park would be a worthwhile endeavor.

"There might be delineation for generations in what might be an amenity and value," she said.

According to a 2011 study commissioned by the Wi-Fi Alliance, 56 percent of those born between 1980 and 2000 consider wireless access to be a necessity.

The advisory board meets again Nov. 28, and Gray said it would likely discuss the situation then when more details are available.



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