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Free WiFi coming to Ralph Stout Park

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

Women of Mountain City Founder Olivia Stelter attended the Tuesday, July 7 City Council Zoom meeting. During this meeting, Stelter got unanimous approval from the Town of Mountain City to move forward with a plan to provide free WiFi to Ralph Stout Park.

“In 2020, internet access is a basic need,” Stelter explained.

The Women of Mountain City connected with SkyBest to provide Internet access to Ralph Stout Park. When asked about her location choice, Stelter explained that Ralph Stout Park is a public place that hosts events such as the Johnson County Farmers Market, which she believed could benefit from Internet access.

“Access to the internet is access to applying for jobs, college, and scholarships,” Stelter explained. “It goes on and on. There have been several studies about how bringing free Internet access to rural areas is vital to economic development as a whole.”

Stelter chose SkyBest because it provides Internet to many local businesses, and she received advice from Mountain Electric’s Joe Thacker. Through cooperation and grant money, this nonprofit secured WiFi at Ralph Stout Park free to the public. Women of Mountain City paid for the equipment. According to Stelter, roughly 35 percent of people in Johnson County have access to secure WiFi.

“SkyBest, Senator Lundberg, and I all agree that free WiFi access would benefit events like the farmers market and any events at the park, but it would also help utilize talents of people in this community that need access to the Internet to advertise their talents. We also agree that Internet access would be a great addition to all of the precautions taken during COVID-19.”

Stelter pointed out that Internet access is a major concern when considering online schooling. The Women of Mountain City have found potential donors for solar tables that students can use to keep devices charged while working in the park. SkyBest provides security to stop this product from being used for lewd activities.

“I think this really is a good idea,” said Alderman Bob Morrison. “As well, this could provide a faster service (for city security cameras).”

Women of Mountain City is a 501C3 nonprofit organization. For more information on this organization and its plans, visit womenofmountaincity.com or @womenofmc on Facebook.