Grants totaling $265,000 from the Detroit Pistons, Rocket Community Fund, and Knight Foundation will fund the work in Bradby, Chandler, Clark, McDuffy, and Palmer Parks. The pilot project includes both the installation of Wi-Fi infrastructure and five years of service, which will be provided by Cronus Internet.
“Detroit’s parks are our common grounds,” Sigal Hemy, the executive director of DPC, said in a statement. “We are thrilled that our neighborhood parks will help bridge the digital divide and elevate the quality of life for all Detroiters.”
The Park Wi-Fi initiative aims to promote digital inclusion efforts across the city by empowering Detroit residents with equal access to technology and information resources. Approximately 70% of Detroit’s school-age children have no internet access at home, according to a University of Michigan study.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to connect technology with being outdoors,” said Alex Allen, board president of DPC. “Visitors can enhance their park experience by researching what they find in nature or streaming music or their favorite show.”
Laura Grannemann, Chair of the Connect 313 Board and Executive Director of the Rocket Community Fund, said the project will increase digital inclusion in Detroit, transforming it from one of the least digitally connected cities in 2019 to a model of “what is possible.”
“It is fitting that Palmer Park, the home of the Rocket Mortgage Classic where Connect 313 was first established in 2020, is the first park to install this vital technology,” Grannemann said. “Increasing access to Wi-Fi in public spaces like these five parks is a major part of the path to a more connected and equitable city.”
Through their “Basketball for All” program, the Detroit Pistons have actively contributed to the city’s parks by renovating 60 basketball courts, including playing surfaces at Bradby and Palmer Parks.
“We are thrilled to continue our work with the Detroit Parks Coalition and Connect 313 by assisting with funding the city’s Wi-Fi pilot program to help close the technology gap in Detroit,” said Erika Swilley, Detroit Pistons Vice President of Community & Social Responsibility. “We view the Park Wi-Fi Pilot program as an extension of our court renovation project and an opportunity to continue to impact the city’s parks.”
Community partners can also raise sponsorship funds for the project to support park programming and activations further. Those partners include
Bradby Park – Stafford House
Clark Park – Clark Park Coalition
Chandler Park – Chandler Park Conservancy
McDuffy Park – North End Christian CDC
Palmer Park – People for Palmer Park