Free High Speed WiFi Coming To 27 Escambia County Parks And Community Centers

October 16, 2020

Free high speed internet is coming to 27 parks and community centers in Escambia County.

The broadband service was approved Thursday by the Escambia County Commission. The one-time installation cost of $720,320 for equipment will be funded with CARES Act funding, the $2.2 trillion federal economic stimulus bill that was approved for COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

The ongoing annual cost for the broadband connectivity and keeping the network up and running will be $441,350. Commissioners will be able to use CARES ACT funding for the first year.

Commissioners said the service will offer a valuable benefit to those using the parks. District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry said it will offer an option to those without adequate internet service in portions of his district for both work and school.

The high speed WiFi networks will be installed in the following parks and community centers:


Ashton Brosnaham Park — 10370 Ashton Brosnaham Drive
Cantonment Youth Athletic Park — 681 Well Line Road
Don Sutton Athletic Park — 2340 Crabtree Church
Extension Services Office-Park — 3740 Stefani Road
4-H Center — 5681 Chalker Road
Harvey C Bradberry Athletic Park — 4760 Highway 99A
Lake Stone Campground & Boat Ramp — 801 Highway 4
Santa Maria Plaza-Madrid — 199 Madrid Road
Travis Nelson Park-Bratt — 4503 West Highway 4


Bellview Athletic Park — 2750 Longleaf Drive
Escambia County Equestrian Center — 7750 Mobile Highway
Southwest Escambia Sports Complex — 2020 Bauer Road
Beulah Regional Park — 7820 Mobile Highway


Baars Field Athletic Park — 13001 Sorrento Road
Myrtle Grove Athletic Park — 99 61st Avenue
Innerarity Point Park — Cruzat Way
Perdido Kids Park — 10004 Gulf Beach Highway


Brent Athletic Park-Baseball — 4711 North W Street
Brent Athletic Park-Football — 4711 North W Street
John R Jones Jr Athletic Park — 555 Nine Mile Road
Raymond Riddle Park — 1704 North W Street
Aviation Field — 2900 North Miller Street
Bristol Park — 5311 Bristol Avenue (off West Michigan)
Diego Circle-Westernmark Park — 751 Massachusetts Avenue
Lincoln Park — 7865 Aaron Drive


SRIA – Pensacola Beach-Casino Beach Area — Pensacola Beach
Regency Park — 8245 Fathom Road

There’s no exact timetable for the installation of the WiFi service at the parks, but the equipment must be ordered by December 31 to qualify for CARES Act reimbursement.

All of the WiFi setups but one will use high speed connections to Cox Communications or Uniti Fiber. The Lake Stone connection will rely on Verizon because there is no cable or fiber internet available along that part of West Highway 4 just outside Century.

WiFi is currently already available at 17 community centers in Escambia County, including Barrineau Park, Byrneville, Carver Park, Davisville, Molino, Oak Grove, Quintette and Walnut Hill in District 5. photo, click to enlarge.


35 Responses to “Free High Speed WiFi Coming To 27 Escambia County Parks And Community Centers”

  1. Anonymous Jones on December 9th, 2020 12:40 pm

    With $1.2 million dollars, couldnt they have paid for wifi in your homes and not at parks? What happens if its cold and raining and little Jerry has homework? Cause he is poor he has to go use the public park WiFi? Seems pretty classist to me. Typical political nonsense. We have a million dollars! What are we gonna do? Pay for WiFi for people! How? Install it in parks and then they’ll go to the park to use it! Why not just give the citizens a voucher to pay for WiFi INDOORS? No!

  2. ALEX on October 20th, 2020 12:36 pm

    for you people that think this is a good thing, well maybe it is but the money being used for the project is stolen from a covid relief fund and this has nothing to do with covid. many good things to help those affected by covid could be done with this money. what a waste

  3. Joe Schmo on October 20th, 2020 9:39 am

    The complainers always know best, they’re the ones that will make the world a better place……….that said by no rational person ever!

  4. popeye76 on October 19th, 2020 3:14 pm

    I see nothing but negative comments (as usual) that suggest that everyone here who read the story know better about how the county should be fiscally managed (as if). As someone who jogs at the park on an everyday basis, I will appreciate having WiFi. As far as the Negative Nancy’s and Debby Downers who relentlessly comment on positive changes that coincide within the century (no pun intened) in which we live here in Escambia, let’s hear your plan or see your finance degree before criticizing and pretending you know how to do better.

  5. Bewildered on October 18th, 2020 11:08 am

    Toilets, playground equipment and everything else is being destroyed by vandals on a regular basis, what are the County Commissioners thinking ?

  6. Carolyn Scofield on October 17th, 2020 2:19 pm

    This is cool! I was camping out at St. Andrews State Park one recent weekend and wishing there were some WiFi spots because I needed to get some grad school homework done but I wanted to stay on the beach and have crashing waves as the background noise instead of working in a busy coffee shop. Free WiFi in public spaces is a good thing.

  7. MR REALITY on October 17th, 2020 7:24 am

    who has the contract to provide all this to the county…….HUMMMMMM

  8. MR REALITY on October 16th, 2020 11:13 pm

    Total waste of our money by these clowns…..

  9. Stump knocker on October 16th, 2020 10:24 pm

    Covid-19 was a huge waste of time. So free WiFi is whatever.

  10. Russ on October 16th, 2020 9:52 pm

    So we have a dozen plus Emergency vehicles sitting in disrepair and this is what our wonderful officials decide to spend $720,000 on. Absolutely garbage! If this pandemic has proven a single thing it is that the benefit and well being of the citizens and tax payers is the farthest thing from any elected official’s thought process.

  11. Bartender on October 16th, 2020 7:48 pm

    How are people gona watch their kids if they got their nose in a phone or computer.thats the biggest waste of money I’ve ever heard.u see people that’s got their nose in a phone an not enjoying their family friends or kids.why dont they put all that money that helps people not taking away from their kids.

  12. sam on October 16th, 2020 7:18 pm

    what a waste. sounds like something the town of century might invest in.

  13. Well on October 16th, 2020 5:36 pm

    Using County wifi at work i can tell y’all have your hopes way to high !

  14. Nod on October 16th, 2020 2:35 pm


  15. David Huie Green on October 16th, 2020 1:49 pm

    “Playgrounds and recreation areas should be a place to “unplug” not sit and continue thumb exercises.”

    This is just a guess, but I doubt they will force anyone to use it.

  16. Mike J. on October 16th, 2020 12:30 pm

    This is a waste of money. This is a big waste of money. This is a big waste of taxpayer money. This is a HUGE waste of big TAXPAYER money!

    Free WiFi should be in schools, libraries, and community centers (buildings). Not outdoors where kids should be running around the park instead of sitting on their rear with eyes glued to a small screen five inches from their nose. Every school bus stop I drive by on the way to work has every kid holding a phone and looking down at it.

  17. pencil on October 16th, 2020 11:42 am

    This is a bonus for the community. NW Florida is at the bottom of the barrel in the state for education so anything that promotes reading and computer literacy to help people step out of the time bubble and join the rest of the world is welcome.

  18. Parent on October 16th, 2020 10:38 am

    Wifi is not simply the answer. The students will need a covered area with tables, seating, electricity and restrooms if this is to be used for schooling in lower income areas. There will also need to be adult monitoring and maintenance to keep clean and lock up at night to prevent vandalism. Couldn’t there be a solution created at existing schools for distance learning at much less expense?

  19. Lisa Fuller on October 16th, 2020 10:22 am

    Reader: Please re-read my comments. I use the same Verizon service at work that I use at home. I have the largest data plan for both accounts, but even the largest plan doesn’t allow more than 15GB per device per month without throttling speed. Our business is small, only 5 lines on our account. I’m not sure how “large” we would have to be to qualify for the plans you claim are available.

  20. db on October 16th, 2020 9:57 am

    The commissioners should have come up with some kind of “life skills” program instead. It’s what is needed, not free internet. more bs from the clowns.

  21. alan on October 16th, 2020 9:57 am

    I thought parks were somewhere you went to get away from it all, let the kids play, actually WATCH the baseball game or other sport your children are involved in.

    This is a waste of money. That will be $500,000+ a year to keep it up and running, a price tag that will increase every year and will be coming from Escambia County Property Taxes after the first year is over.

  22. just sayin on October 16th, 2020 9:53 am

    This is a dream come true for every bum hanging out on the side of the road begging for money. They will be moving to a park near you soon to trash the place. Who would want to take children to play at a park with the same folks who currently live under the cedar trees in front of Brent Baptist Church along Palafox St?

  23. Reader on October 16th, 2020 8:56 am

    “t Lake Stone: (1) Is the park open for day use without an admission fee for local people to take advantage of this service? (2) Is Verizon going to make an exception to its “Unlimited”

    It says Lake Stone Campground and Boat Ramp. There’s no admission fee for the boat ramp side of the park.

    Verizon has business unlimited contract plans for large customers that are totally different than your home plan.

  24. Reader on October 16th, 2020 8:54 am

    “everywhere but BYRNEVILLE”

    It’s already installed at the Byrneville Community Center. It says that right there in the article.

  25. David on October 16th, 2020 8:49 am

    Good greif, nothing is free…if it was, we all would have “free wifi ” at home. Taxpayers money is not called free. Its paid for…trust me.

  26. WIFI??? on October 16th, 2020 8:37 am

    Playgrounds and recreation areas should be a place to “unplug” not sit and continue thumb exercises.

  27. retired on October 16th, 2020 8:32 am

    what is the range? I need a park across the the street.

  28. Cj on October 16th, 2020 8:20 am

    In part because a lot of areas especially in our part of the county can’t get internet for their homes. Remote learning and work from home sometimes is preferred or necessary. Parks go into parking lot and access the internet. I think this is a great idea.

  29. Lisa Fuller on October 16th, 2020 8:11 am

    Questions about the Verizon connection at Lake Stone: (1) Is the park open for day use without an admission fee for local people to take advantage of this service? (2) Is Verizon going to make an exception to its “Unlimited” data plan? I use Verizon at my home and also at my office. We are using the most expensive plan Verizon offers, which they call “unlimited” but it’s not really unlimited. When your data use goes over a certain amount, Verizon will throttle your speed back to 600kbps, only slightly better than dial-up. Our office goes over the maximum allowed amount of data every month and have to deal with a horribly slow connection for at least the last 8 or 9 days of every billing cycle. The same is true at my house and we’re not streaming videos, gaming online or other heavy-data use services.

  30. john on October 16th, 2020 7:12 am

    I hope they don’t have a problem with people camping out in our parks now.

  31. Anne on October 16th, 2020 7:02 am

    To us this is a waste of TAXPAYER Monies.
    CARES Act money was to help small businesses in times of this “shutdown” because of the COVID-19. Parks are NOT a Business and do not help provide employment.
    So, when this virus thing has subsided or been controlled will this WiFi inf parks be cancelled?
    Misuse of money….who do these Elected Officials think PAYS for the CARES Act?
    WE the Taxpayers pay for all of it.
    NOT a good use of limited funding. How about fixing some roads?

  32. tim presley on October 16th, 2020 4:58 am

    everywhere but BYRNEVILLE

  33. Robert Bruner on October 16th, 2020 4:48 am

    Finally a use of money that can benefit everyone, not just a selected few.

  34. j in perdido on October 16th, 2020 1:55 am

    Why? What does this have to do with Covid-19?

  35. Jason on October 16th, 2020 1:52 am

    Our Nation is nearly $27 TRILLION dollars in debt. An April report in the Washington Post showed more than $6 Trillion was spent on CoVid relief and growing. At a time when surplus funds could be returned to the Treasury, our leaders have opted to visit the “free money tree” and IMHO spend recklessly. Absolutely disgusting. As grandma always said, “just because you can doesnt mean you have to”. I guess the BCC doesnt understand this isnt “free money” Every tax-paying citizens will be paying this bill for years to come.

    This vote shouldnt surprise anyone. It clearly a reason why the infrastructure is lacking in our County, and why road paving and bridge repair are so underfunded.

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