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January 26, 2021 - 2:35pm

BID close to providing free Wi-Fi to downtown businesses

Going on for nearly a year now, COVID-19 has created a dilemma for downtown business traffic in Batavia. But better days are ahead, according to Beth Kemp, executive director of the city’s Business Improvement District.

Kemp, speaking at Monday night’s City Council Conference meeting, reported that one of the BID’s biggest projects is nearing completion.

“We continue to work with Spectrum Charter on bringing free Wi-Fi to the entire BID area,” Kemp said. “We have had several stakeholder meetings over the last year, bringing all of the property owners that will be working with Spectrum on essentially allowing them access to their buildings.”

Kemp said the BID has moved to the implementation phase of installing and connecting of all the nodes in the downtown area to activate the Wi-Fi.

“Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 that has been put on hold until the end of February. Several engineers come from out of state so we have a tentative date to move forward on that,” she said.

Kemp explained that the new Wi-Fi network will feature multiple channel controls – actually five per the agreement with Spectrum.

“One of those channels is designated for the free Wi-Fi downtown and we will have time restrictions,” she said. “So, each will have a maximum of four hours per day to use the Wi-Fi. Certainly, a perk for all residents and visitors here.”

She said that additional channels could be utilized by the City of Batavia Police Department or emergency personnel.

“The BID is also interested in using one of those dedicated channels for possible music downtown,” Kemp said, adding that officials are looking at wireless speaker systems to attach to the light poles. “(Music) would bring a positive vibe.”

Other projects planned for 2021 include:

  • Updated banners and signage, including those that go on the downtown light poles;
  • Snowflakes to go on light poles that are showing their age;
  • Hanging baskets and flowers for baskets;
  • Fall decorations such as cornstalks, pumpkins and hay bales as well as garland options for light poles around the holidays.

Kemp said the BID’s marketing plan will include free advertising opportunities for small businesses, commercials, print advertising, social media assistance and radio opportunities – either at a discounted rate or free to small businesses.

She said that the agency looks to promote Tasty Tuesdays once again to support restaurant takeout orders, and the Downtown Bingo initiative featuring giveaways for participants who complete their boards.

On the events side, she said the BID seeks to continue the scarecrow and wreath contests, and Shop Small Saturday following Thanksgiving.

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