Wednesday, November 13, 2019
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Cookeville Terminates Free Downtown WiFi Project

A project to provide free WiFi in downtown Cookeville will no longer be taking place.

City Council voted Thursday to terminate the project because of the $13,728 cost to provide the service each year. Vice Mayor Laurin Wheaton said the city did not know the annual cost when they approved the project earlier this year.

“While I would love to add this service, I don’t think it’s a necessity of our city,” Wheaton said. “I think that there are better ways that the taxpayer dollars can be spent. Going forward, I do think the decision to terminate the grant is going to be better for the taxpayer dollars.”

The Appalachian Regional Commission awarded Cookeville a $52,000 grant for the project in March. The funding would have installed the network system for providing free WiFi to a 20-block area in downtown.

“I hate to give up a grant, but now knowing the full cost, I think it would be almost like using taxpayer dollars to supplement peoples data plans,” Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton said. “I don’t know if that would be the best use of those dollars either.”

Council members voted unanimously to abandon the grant and terminate the project.

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