City recreation centers now offer free Wi-Fi

City of Asheville recreation centers are places for community-strengthening activities like student enrichment programs and neighborhood information meetings. So providing wireless internet fits perfectly into their mission, says Debbie Ivester, Assistant Director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

“People come to our recreation centers to connect with our services, each other, and the community,” Ivester says. “So being able to connect to the internet makes these facilities much more comprehensive. It was one of the most frequent requests we got.”

Over the summer, Wi-Fi was installed in eight city facilities: the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center, Stephens-Lee, Linwood Crump Shiloh Center, Burton Street, Montford, the Harvest House, the Senior Opportunity Center and the Aston Park Tennis Center.

Randy Shaw, Director at the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr.,  Southside Center, said the center’s after school programs like the teen leadership program for 6-9th graders are examples of where WiFi can help.

“Some students need internet access to complete homework assignments,” Shaw says. And since the Grant Center often hosts public meetings, he says, attendees can use WiFi on their devices to get information out to friends in the community.

Shaw said he hopes that people in the surrounding neighborhoods who don’t have internet access will see the resource as a chance to plug into resources in the community.

“Internet access really is a fundamental part of our society, whether it’s looking for jobs, looking for housing or finding out information about city services,” Shaw said. “It really is another element to help us better serve the community.”

Wireless internet at City of Asheville Recreation Centers can be accessed during center hours by speaking to a center staff member.