City targets downtown wi-fi, online marketing for large EDA grant

By Per Peterson

Some big-time, positive changes are coming for downtown Tracy — and the City as a whole — but you won’t notice them until you go online.

The City of Tracy was recently awarded an $111,600 Federal EDA grant that will be put toward a two-year, $142,000 project that includes spending $16,000 to add wi-fi so the entire downtown area will be covered. The City will have to cover the remaining $30,400 from its marketing budget in the City’s general fund; the $30,400 will be budgeted over multiple years. For the wi-fi, the City will pay $6,000, with the grant covering the remaining $10,000.

There will be no ongoing costs to Tracy taxpayers for the wi-fi, as Vast will cover those, said Tracy City Administrator Erik Hansen.

“We’re going to wire two blocks of 3rd Street downtown with free wi-fi,” said Hansen. “It will be between South Street and Rowland. This is really exciting.”

“Broadband is so important to everything in society right now,” said Tracy Community Development Director Jeff Carpenter. “For us to have downtown all wired … you’ll be able to come up to the new coffee shop, the library — everything. This is the way of the world.”

The other two pieces of the multi-year project include $15,000 for business retention and online marketing of the City of Tracy, along with the EDA and Chamber of Commerce — a pet project of the City’s that has been discussed for a number of years — and $96,000 to provide e-commerce technical assistance to help Tracy area businesses market their products online.

“We’ll be able to help 20 businesses for five hours a month for the next two years, provide assistance with their online marketing,” Hansen said.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.