Springboro to use CARES funds for free Wi-Fi at crossroads development

Visitors outside buildings at Wright Station and “in the more open areas of the buildings” will be able to access the free Wi-Fi.

Credit: Lawrence Budd

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Visitors outside buildings at Wright Station and “in the more open areas of the buildings” will be able to access the free Wi-Fi.

Credit: Lawrence Budd

The city of Springboro plans to use CARES Act funds to offer free Wi-Fi at its new crossroads development.

The free internet access is to be available within the Wright Station development on the northwest corner of Ohio 741 and Ohio 73, Main Street and Central Avenue in Springboro.

This is the latest service revealed for the development, on the former site of the Springboro IGA Plaza and anchored by the Springboro Performing Arts Center and the Warped Wing Barrel Room & Smokery.

“Warped Wing will probably be the first business to use the Wi-Fi to advertise,” according to meeting minutes. “Part of the Wi-Fi platform includes a splash page, which will allow the Wright Station businesses to pay the city to advertise coupons, promotions, etc.”

Warped Wing and the city are still working out the details of the Wi-Fi advertising, according to Nick Bowman, Warped Wing co-founder in charge of sales and marketing.

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“It’s very intriguing to us. I think it’s got value,” Bowman said. Warped Wing has begun serving beers in special Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) cups there for customers who want to walk around the designated area.

Currently Warped Wing has suspended marketing spending, in response to dwindling business during the pandemic.

“We’re fighting to save the farm every day,” Bowman said.

Two antennas, set up on the Springboro arts center, are to provide the Wi-Fi access throughout the DORA recently set up at Wright Station.

City Manager Chris Pozzuto told city council the city expected to pay $21,000 for the service from EdgeConnect, a company previously involved in the Miami Valley Cable Council Fiber Ring Project.

“I am very supportive of CARES funds used for Wi-Fi at Wright Station in Springboro. As an allowable expenditure under the CARES Act, it will enable us to further incentivize economic development, as well provide a needed service to our existing businesses and their employees," Councilwoman Becky Iverson said in an email.

“Additionally, with the number of residents working from home and/or attending school virtually, the Wi-Fi will allow them an alternative work space while supporting local businesses," she said.

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Pozzuto revealed the Wi-Fi plan at a work session before the Sept. 17 council meeting.

Visitors outside buildings in the complex and “in the more open areas of the buildings” will be able to use the free service to access the internet sitting at benches or walking between the center, Warped Wing and other businesses. Signs will provide login information.

Councilwoman Janie Ridd noted the service would be useful for people lacking unlimited data plans with their cellphone providers.

In response to a question from Councilman Dale Brunner, Pozzuto said the service could be extended to other buildings in the development through agreements with the city or Synergy Development, the company building the project with the city.

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