By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Apr 30, 2021 at 12:03 PM

Eight Milwaukee parks and play areas now have open-access wireless internet when the parks are open, from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily, thanks to CARES Act dollars.

Two more will be added later this year, according to a statement released by the office of Mayor Tom Barrett Thursday.

The project, which cost more than $100,000, is the result of a partnership between the City’s Information Technology Management Division and other agencies.

The public can access free wireless internet at the following Milwaukee parks by connecting a device to the “City of Milwaukee WiFi” network.

Here are the parks:

  • Fondy Farmer’s Market, 2200 W. Fond Du Lac Ave.
  • Reiske Park, 1640 S. 24th St.
  • Galena Play Area, 3002 W. Galena St.
  • Reservoir Park, 801 E. North Ave.
  • Popuch Park, 8500 N. Granville Rd.
  • Cawker Play Area, 2929 N. 30th St.
  • Florist Play Area, 5969 N. 84th St.
  • Lincoln Playfield, 300 W. Lincoln Ave.

These will be added later this year:

  • Melvina Play Area, 3840 N. 29th St.
  • Zillman Park, 2180 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

Connect to the free wireless internet by using the “City of Milwaukee WiFi” network.

These parks join Cathedral Square and Pere Marquette Parks, which have had free city-provided wireless since 2003.

A variety of initiatives by entities like the Environmental Collaboration Office, Information Technology Management Division, and MKE Plays are working to bring wifi to Victory Over Violence Park, the Garden District Community Garden and a new City park at 29th and Clybourn Streets.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made affordable and reliable internet access a necessity for our residents working and schooling from home,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “Now, in addition to free Wi-Fi access at public buildings like libraries and schools, individuals in underserved areas can look to our parks as other locations to get online.”

According to the statement, “State statue limits the City’s ability to directly provide or subsidize broadband internet service to residents. The City of Milwaukee plans to expand wireless internet into additional parks with upcoming grant opportunities.”

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.