Juniper Gardens Free Wi-Fi Project

MARCH 2, 2013

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Resident, Pay Lay, in the community gardens. Photo courtesy of Catholic Charities KC
This project was completed in 2013 and is functioning today!

We are pleased to announce that Connecting for Good has entered into a partnership with the Kansas City Kansas Housing Authority  to bring free Wi-Fi to their largest low income housing project – Juniper Gardens. The project will bring a free broadband Internet connection into all 390 units where nearly 1,000 people live. The  large mesh network we are building will require installing more than 70 Wi-Fi radio transmitters on nearly forty buildings (see below).  We will also be developing a computer learning lab in the community center at the complex. Similar to our Rosedale Ridge project, we will be providing digital life skills training and inexpensive refurbished PC systems to residents at Juniper Gardens

There are a number of wonderful  nonprofit organizations working at the complex.  We are excited about the many ways that providing Internet access, computers, and digital literacy training will enhance their efforts to assist residents. Among the them are YouthBuild, New Roots for Refugees, a program with Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, and CultivateKC, which supports an eight-acre urban farming training project for residents and people in the surrounding neighborhood.  We have heard that among the many recent refugees who live in the complex, at least fifteen different languages are spoken.

The Northeast neighborhood where Juniper Gardens is located is the largest concentration of poverty in the entire KC Metro area.  This project will give us a foothold that will allow us to expand the network to reach other families in Northeast Wyandotte County.  To that end, we are creating a designated fund to support an urban broadband initiative. We will be working with local residents and neighborhood associations to find creative ways to extend Internet connectivity throughout the entire area.

We have already secured a One Economy Corporation in-kind donation of Wi-Fi radio equipment – valued at $15,000 – that will bring broadband Internet to every apartment at Juniper Gardens.  The grant will also pay for bandwidth to power the network for the first year. And, the Housing Authority will be picking up that expense after the first year.

To secure this grant,  this network must be built by March 31.  We have to raise approximately $16,000 for additional equipment and the installation costs.

Project Budget  
75 Wi-Fi transmitters ($200 ea.) $15,000
Install 70 Wi-Fi transmitters ($120 ea.) $8,400
70 high gain antennas (97.50 ea.) $6,825
12 months of Internet service $7,800
Miscellaneous materials $1,600
Total  $39,625
Grants and cash gifts  -$23,800
Total left to raise  $15,825

 

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! Make a donation to this project on Neighbor.ly

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Juniper_Gardents_Aerial_Map2Aerial view of the Juniper Gardens low income housing complex.

Photo of resident in community gardens courtesy of Catholic Charities

Written by Tom Esselman

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