Charleston Parks Conservancy hosted “Get Connnected” – a public event held this past Monday in Hampton Park to celebrate the addition of free Wi-Fi in four more Charleston city parks as part of the city’s acknowledgment of the role public spaces play in connecting people.
The Charleston Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting people to their parks and in turn increasing the quality, awareness, appreciation and usage of Charleston’s parks and green spaces. The Conservancy worked with the Charleston Digital Corridor to put the technology in place after receiving a donation from The Speedwell Foundation.
The parks receiving new wireless access are Hampton Park, Corrine Jones Park, Magnolia Park and Community Garden and Mitchell Playground. “Our mission at the Charleston Parks Conservancy is to connect people with their parks. Now we have another way for Charleston residents and visitors to truly connect in—and to—our parks,” said Harry Lesesne, executive director of the Charleston Parks Conservancy.
The upgrade came after a generous $30,000 donation from The Speedwell Foundation, the family foundation of Michael and Jenny Messner. Its philanthropic efforts center around urban parks and education. “Free Wi-Fi access in public parks is not just another amenity, it helps to bridge the digital divide for those citizens, especially young students, in our community who may not otherwise have regular Internet access,” Michael Messner said.
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley was also on hand to assist in “cutting the cord” to usher in more wireless access for local parks. “Urban public spaces have a role like never before. Those who study innovation are realizing that true innovation and creativity often occurs where people from different backgrounds physically come together and interact with each other,” Riley said. “Increasingly, where that occurs is in public, shared spaces like our city parks.”
He also noted that, “Adding Wi-Fi to four more parks, including the much-used Hampton Park, means even more people can connect to—and perhaps more importantly, with each other—in these public spaces, making our community even better, stronger, and more successful.”
Wi-Fi is already available in Waterfront Park and Marion Square thanks to the Charleston Digital Corridor and Google. Charleston Free Wi-Fi was also added to Governor’s Park on Daniel Island through an agreement between Home Telecom and the Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation.