RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Within the next year, new benches will be installed in Dix Park to help people connect to the internet.

The Dix Park Conservancy, a nonprofit partner of the City of Raleigh, announced that Wi-Fi-enabled benches will be installed around the park, a 308-acre public space.

According to the announcement, there will be six benches placed around the park.

The benches will be installed at existing park amenities, including the Dix Park Dog Park and the Oak and Magnolia Rooms.

“The benches will serve as beacons of the park’s bold and ambitious vision for the future,” the announcement said.

Rendering of bench with WiFi at Dix Park (Dix Park Conservancy)

How are they funded?

Officials said the Dix Park Conservancy received a $100,000 grant from Google to create and install the benches.

They said allowing visitors to connect digitally will promote park equity, inclusivity and immersive park engagement and experiences for the diverse community of visitors and residents.

Dix Park saw nearly one million visitors between July 2022 and June 2023.

“We are immensely grateful to Google for their generous grant,” says Janet Cowell, CEO of Dix Park Conservancy. “The Wi-Fi benches will allow visitors to more fully engage with the park’s many attractions, learn about its history and discover how to be part of our future development. It aligns perfectly with our mission to create a transformative public space that enriches the quality of life for everyone in our community.”

“Google is proud to support the Dix Park Conservancy in this endeavor,” said Lilyn Hester, head of external affairs – Southeast, Google. “We believe that access to technology should be universal and that public spaces like Dix Park should be inclusive and welcoming to all. These Wi-Fi benches will empower park-goers to connect, learn, and explore, enhancing their overall experience.”



When will we see the benches?

Bench placement and activation is expected to be completed by early 2024.

The Dix Park Conservancy said they will collaborate with vendors, including Aerolina Wireless Internet Services, to work on design options, installation and maintenance services.

“The introduction of Wi-Fi-enabled benches at Dix Park marks a significant step forward in the park’s journey to become an inclusive and technology-enhanced space for all to enjoy,” the Dix Park Conservancy announced.