JEFFERSON — If you’re the parent of a young athlete and you’ve just been begging to be able to check up on your favorite professional team on ESPN or see what the weather looks like for the rest of the day, you’ll be able to do that on your smartphones and tablets at both Ashe Park and Family Central.
Both areas are now fully equipped with free and secure wi-fi capabilities.
“It started a couple of years ago at Ashe Park when we were doing some things to revamp services for people coming in to the park,” said Ashe County Parks and Recreation Director, Scott Turnmyre.
According to Turnmyre, the project started off with the park being able to secure some free hardware to get the wi-fi setup going throughout Ashe Park
“That was really a big upgrade. It has a good, strong firewall with it and we’ve seen a lot of people, especially during the summer, bring their laptops and lunch and sit down and enjoy that out in the park,” said Turnmyre.
Soon after that, the focus turned towards Family Central with the numerous ball fields and events that take place there, it only seemed like the logical move to expand the free wi-fi capabilities to that area.
“We’ve got so many people that are over at Family Central out at ballgames and quite often they like to use their wireless devices so we asked about getting that (wi-fi) put out there too. We’ve got it inside Family Central, we’ve got it outside at the baseball fields and it’s going to be extended to the lower fields too,” said Turnmyre. “It’s going to be helpful and a good free service.”
ACPR has also boosted it technology upgrades throughout the park and at Family Central with new security cameras that have been put in place.
“In this day and age, you don’t like to leave stones unturned and with all of the public space we have, we’ve got cameras in the gym and we’ve got one in the fitness center. It just allows us to monitor a little better. You can’t be everywhere all the time,” said Turnmyre.
There are cameras outside the facility at the fields as well that have been there and are not part of the new security upgrade there.
At Ashe Park, a new system was recently put in place to help out park manager Heather Barker
“We have cameras at two of the shelters now and cameras at the skate park, the maintenance shop building and also one at the entrance showing us the gate,” said Barker. “That’s a lot to cover when there’s only one person here. There’s no way for one person to see everything all the time.”
The new equipment allows for the parks and rec staff to monitor things in real time and have video proof of something that happens after the fact.
“If it looks like that you need to go attend to something, if someone is doing something potentially unsafe, you can make a trip to wherever that is and handle the situation,” said Turnmyre.
Turnmyre underlined the fact that the parks and recreation staff are not trying to intrude on people’s privacy or anything like that, they just want to make sure that all of the people that visit are going to have a good, safe time.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87