The City of Goose Creek welcomed the rehab of Central Avenue on Monday, the first leg in a broader $1.45 million downtown redevelopment. It also 31 free WiFi hotspots in the city.
The internet access was made possible through a partnership with Google. The search engine empire has committed $170,000 to the project for the next three years, most of that spent on equipment.
Those within 200 feet of these hotspots will have access to the city's WiFi service at no charge. The spots are currently in four areas: Central Avenue, City Hall on North Goose Creek Boulevard, the Casey Community Center on Old Moncks Corner Road and Felkel Field in the Beverley Hills subdivision.
Google operates a data center in Berkeley County and has sponsored several community events organized by the municipality.
"Google is strongly committed to providing our data center communities with access to the most up-to-date information and resources," said Eric Wages, Google's local operations manager.
Many municipalities don't have the money and infrastructure to provide access outside of what is offered by individual businesses. "This collaboration with Google will allow our city to be a step ahead," said Goose Creek Mayor Michael Heitzler.
The ribbon-cutting on Central Avenue unveiled the first of three roads through the downtown area receiving infrastructure improvements, including buried power lines, new pavement, sidewalks and street lights.
"Downtown Goose Creek is about creating a nexus where people will come, where businesses will grow, where jobs will emerge, and where the tax base will get thicker," Heitzler said. "Moreover, it's about creating a community that is comprehensive — you won't have to drive somewhere else to do the things that are important in your life."
The project has been funded through city tax dollars set aside to spur growth in the area. Last month, the spending more than $200,000 to begin work on the Brandywine Boulevard improvements and work is nearly done on Thomason Boulevard.
Other construction includes the municipal center and the community center. The city also plans to invest remaining funds in improvements to the fire department.