By Marty Farmer
Add free outdoor WiFi to the list of amenities that debuted at the new and improved Scoville Park in June. Complementing park renovations, including new tennis courts, a playground, a new plaza around the World War I monument (aka "Peace Triumphant"), aesthetic landscaping and other upgrades, Scoville Park visitors can also enjoy wireless access to the Internet virtually anywhere in the park. The WiFi is accessible by connecting to the Service Set Identifier (SSID) "scovillepark." The new wireless system includes multiple access points for direct connection to the Internet for hundreds of simultaneous users within the park.
The Oak Park Public Library and Park District of Oak Park teamed up to bring the idea to fruition.
"I think everybody is very pleased with addition of free WiFi to Scoville Park," said Jan Arnold, executive director of the park district. "It offers desired technology to our residents and shows our commitment to staying digitally inclusive over the long term. The collaboration between the library and park district to make this happen was wonderful. Our IT guys worked really well together to get it done."
Curt Stacey and Michael Papa, the information technology managers at the library and park district, respectively, spearheaded completion of the free WiFi project.
David Seleb, library's new executive director, also lauded the working alliance between the park district and library in order to offer residents such a valued digital feature within the park.
"It's a great partnership between the park district and library," he said. "For members of our community, the free WiFi access in Scoville Park is invaluable. It allows people who might not have any or as much Internet access to bridge the digital divide a bit.
"It also reaffirms a major part of our mission at the library, which is to provide our residents use of assorted technologies. Our focus is to enhance the quality of life within our community by offering resources and services that foster a love of learning and reading."
Independent of the free outdoor WiFi in Scoville Park, the adjacent main library's (SSID) of "opplair" will remain in use for patrons inside the three-story building.
"We're thrilled to have such a great location in Oak Park next to Scoville Park," Seleb said. "People can enjoy the park and visit us at the library or vice versa."