In a continued effort to meet the Allegan District Library’s mission of providing the public with access to information, the library is pleased to announce that they have entered into partnership with the City of Allegan to extend the Library’s free high-speed internet access to the public space along the city’s downtown riverfront area. This service will be available to all community members and visitors to the Allegan Riverfront.
The groups are responding to meet the needs of community members who are currently under-served by reliable high-speed service. Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period Library staff has seen an increase in the number of people parking near the library to use the Wi-Fi signal which currently reaches outside the building to the front street parking and partially to the back parking lot.
The extension of service will span from Hanson Park to Mahan Park along the entire Riverfront area, encompassing the award-winning outdoor public gathering space. This valuable amenity will be available at all times including during the many events throughout the year that attract both local residents and visitors from outside the community.
The partnership began with the City of Allegan’s Economic Development Corporation and the library’s Facilities Committee when the library recognized the number of people that regularly come to park near the library to use the Wi-Fi signal that reaches outside the building. Likewise, members of the EDC, whose charge is to identify and facilitate service or infrastructure opportunities that have the potential to expand the economic desirability of the city, saw the opportunity to fulfill a need that is unmet for Allegan taxpayers.
Alan Smith, the ADL Technology Coordinator, who is implementing efforts for the Library, discovered the city has broadband along the Riverfront that could be used, thus greatly reducing the initial cost. Installation of two access points, each focused along a 400 foot profile in two directions, will cover Mahan Park to the East and both the Perrigo Plaza Splash Pad and the walking bridge to the West; a similar access point placed behind the Library will strengthen and extend coverage to both the parking lot and Hansen Park. Access to city infrastructure is being coordinated between Smith and City of Allegan Director of Public Works, Doug Kadzban.
Pamela Armstrong, Library Director, states that this partnership advances the library’s mission to empower the community, working together to increase public access.
City Manager Joel Dye is pleased that the City is able to provide the infrastructure necessary to create this unique opportunity for a mutually beneficial partnership between the City of Allegan and the Allegan District Library that wields potential for further attraction to the entirety of the Riverfront Park.
The initial hardware and installation cost for the project is estimated to be approximately $1500. Phase one of this project, which we hope to be a city-wide endeavor, is funded with a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the Library of Michigan. Combining resources in this partnership will allow the city to join with the library to gain a synergy that will not only enhance both entities digital footprints, but also will create a welcoming and economically favorable resource for city, library district, and visitors. This project will be a win for the extended community and provide much needed access to internet services.