LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new outdoor wireless Internet network will be tested at the Shawnee Arts & Cultural center, according to a press release from Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton.

On Wednesday, the councilwoman announced the network pilot program would be coming to residents of the Shawnee neighborhood for free. The network has been installed at the community center at 37th Street and Del Park Terrace, it will be accessible to users at the center and nearby residents.

"This pilot wireless network brings critical connectivity to residents, businesses and visitors, giving them 24/7 access to everything from education materials for kids, Facebook and social media sites to information about West Louisville's rich history and attractions, entrepreneurial opportunities, applying for jobs, to everyday needs like paying bills, checking library hours – or even just keeping tabs on the Louisville sports activities," said Hamilton. "In the 21st Century, being successful requires being connected."

The release says the pilot program is geared toward being the catalyst for a free wireless network for as many as 65,000 west Louisville residents.

The goal is a "WirelessFreeway" network that will extend from Ninth Street East to the Ohio River West between the Ohio River North and Algonquin Parkway -- making it the largest continuous free outdoor public wireless network in Kentucky.

"It is an honor to work with the Metro Louisville, Congressman John Yarmuth's office, Cisco, JCPS and the University of Louisville's CECS department to provide this free digital resource to the residents, businesses and visitors of West Louisville," said Joe McNealy, Founder and Advocate of the WirelessFreeway project. "In today's society Internet access has become more of a necessity than a luxury. First class wireless communications, such as free wi-fi, will play a vital role in the future success and prosperity of West Louisville."

The City's Metro Technology Department has been overseeing the network's implementation, along with Cisco, JCPS Technology Department and Metro Parks Technology Department.

"Ultimately, the benefit is about giving our children an advantage; it is about providing opportunity to every resident in west Louisville," said Ted Smith, Chief of Civic Innovation for Louisville Metro Government.

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