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January 9, 2007
Contact: Frank Pagani Ralph DiBart
Thompson & Bender New Rochelle BID
(914) 762-1900 (212) 866-0191
New Rochelle Becomes First Major Downtown in Westchester With Wi-Fi Wireless Network
New Rochelle BID Initiative Brings Free Internet Access to Downtown Area; Network Includes First Public Information Kiosk at a Metro-North Station
New Rochelle, NY (October 4, 2006)— New Rochelle has become the first major downtown in Westchester and in the southern Hudson Valley region to be equipped with a Wi-Fi Network, thanks to a major initiative undertaken by the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District (BID).
The New Rochelle BID Wi-Fi Network provides free wireless Internet access to business owners, retailers, students, residents and visitors in an area encompassing the City’s central business district. Also included in the Network is the New Rochelle Metro-North Railroad Station which has been equipped with the railroad’s first wireless public information computer kiosk.
Funded in part with grants from the Empire State Development Corporation and MTA Capital Program, the New Rochelle Wi-Fi Network was designed and constructed by Wireless Edge, a New Rochelle-based technology company. Corporate sponsors are Avalon on the Sound, New Roc City and Monroe College.
Ralph DiBart, the BID Executive Director, noted that the Wi-Fi Network provides a valuable and free communications link for a wide range of constituents in the New Rochelle BID area. "As the City rebuilds downtown New Rochelle for the new century, the BID wants to insure that our technology infrastructure also looks to the future. Wireless communication is no longer an amenity but a necessity for a vibrant business community."
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson noted, "This is an exciting development for New Rochelle in several respects. It makes New Rochelle the first in the region to be equipped with this technology on a large scale and it’s another example of the continuing commitment of the BID to help move forward New Rochelle’s economic revitalization strategy for downtown with innovation and vision." Simultaneously with the Wi-Fi Network going live, the BID’s new website designed by The Harquin Group — www.newrochelledowntown.com — was also launched today, DiBart announced. "The website forms an integral part of the vast information portal we’ve created for the Wi-Fi Network. The website makes a wealth of information available about downtown New Rochelle including its many businesses and retailers, upcoming events, restaurants, entertainment, professional services, hotels, housing, office and retail space, transportation, directions and parking easily accessible to the public."
In addition, a special free-standing public computer information kiosk in the station building—the first of its kind — offers touch screen technology to help people navigate the BID, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metro-North, Amtrak and City of New Rochelle websites.
"Metro-North is grateful to former State Assemblyman Ronald Tocci for providing funding for this kiosk." said Metro-North President Peter A. Cannito. "This kiosk will allow travelers to get up-to-the-minute information about trains schedules, fares and promotions. We hope it will attract more visitors and we hope they take Metro-North to get here. "
The BID WiFi is the first free comprehensive downtown wireless network in the region. The BID Wi-Fi Network covers more than a 20 block downtown area that encompasses Main and Huguenot Streets, Memorial Plaza, Avalon on the Sound’s outdoor recreation areas, Library Green, Monroe College’s outdoor campus areas, New Street at New Roc City, as well as the train station.
Charles A. Gargano, Chairman of Empire State Development Corporation, said that the New Rochelle Wi-Fi Network represented a significant milestone in the "Wireless Communities/Wired Buildings" Grant Program’s long-term goal to create Information Technology Districts throughout New York State. "We are pleased to help provide the broadband needs of small businesses in New Rochelle as well as to the larger community. By being the first major Wi-Fi district in this region, New Rochelle may well serve as a model for other wireless communities that are now on the drawing board."
The New Rochelle Business Improvement District was established in 2000 to attract investment to the City’s downtown, while working diligently to establish a high standard for the quality of life in the central business district. The BID has initiated development projects that represent more than $150 million in new private investment as well as providing a full roster of sanitation services, events, and economic revitalization programs.