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In the News Index

Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Date: March 8, 2004
Byline: Carla Anderson

Wi-Fi and skateboards together in LOVE Park? Why Not?

WHEN MAYOR Street announced on Friday that he intends to rig LOVE Park up with wireless access to the Internet, he proved he's thinking along the right lines when it comes to this under-used urban park.

Like Bryant Park in New York, or Pioneer Square in Portland, Ore., a wireless-fidelity Love Park would help attract tech-savvy young people to Philadelphia's urban core — precisely the people we need more of if we want to see this city flourish. What this means, for the un-initiated, is that any user would be able to sit in the park and surf the Net — with the help of a relatively inexpensive card that inserts into the laptop.

I say Bravo.

With this decision, Street is showing that he gets how much we need to re-invent Philadelphia as a city for the young.

Meanwhile, Managing Director, Phil Goldsmith has yet to decide on a compromise proposal to allow skateboarding in the park during limited hours.

I say the vision that makes Wi-Fi a good idea should be expansive enough to see how valuable the skateboard mecca can be as we re-craft our image.

Skateboarding is, after all, the fastest growing sport among young people. And before skateboarding was ruled illegal there, LOVE Park was one of the nation's hottest spots for the sport.

Some may think skateboards and laptops won't mix. But the compromise now being considered would allow skateboarders to safely share the concrete and marble plateau with benches full of a lunch crowd. Why not add laptop users to that mix?

Besides, the young people who'd bring their laptops to the park were very often skateboarders themselves. And if they weren't, they're of the generation that has made skateboarding a hit.

"This is such a good idea, I wish we'd thought of it ourselves," said Andrew Hohns, founder of the group that came up with the compromise and a candidate for the state House of Representatives.

"There is a lot of natural sympathy between the skateboarders and the techies. In many instances, they are one and the same." I think he's right. And I hope our mayor thinks so, too. homepage

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