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Free Public Wi-fi Announced for Downtown Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — Mayor Domenic Sarno and Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy announced upgrades to Springfield’s downtown technology infrastructure. The initiatives include providing free public wi-fi access beginning in the downtown area this spring, then expanding to other areas of the city, including public parks.

Working with city partners, the initiative will also bring high-speed fiber into buildings, which will provide the growing entrepreneurship sector with quicker, cost-effective, easier-to-access technology.

“Springfield has a history of innovation,” Sarno said. “These investments will keep us competitive in the market to attract entrepreneurs and to assist those here today in continuing to grow. This will also serve as a matter of convenience for residents and tourists who will be able to access Internet in our parks and public spaces.”

The initial investment will range between $50,000 and $100,000 and will ensure free wi-fi access throughout downtown.

The investment comes on the heels of the city’s announcement of a National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC) award, part of which will dedicate funding to a pair of key innovation projects in the district: DevelopSpringfield’s Springfield Innovation Center and an IT workforce-training program through Tech Foundry. Funding is expected to be $300,000 for each project.

All of these activities fall in the city’s Transformative Development Initiative district, a designation the city applied for and was awarded through MassDevelopment, which has since provided staff, an equity investment, and technical and financial assistance as the Worthington Street master plan continues to advance.

“This has all been part of a dedicated planning process to establish an innovation district in our downtown,” Kennedy said. “The private and nonprofit sectors have been doing their share in creating a great deal of excitement with programming; these key city infrastructure investments will only help further these efforts. It’s been a great partnership.”

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