NHDDC discusses updating downtown WiFi, soft launch of new City website, bike share program

The Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission (NHDDC) received a proposal from CP-TEL at its Feb. 21 meeting, which addressed the need for updating the WiFi coverage in the Historic District.

The current equipment, which provides free WiFi access to visitors and residents on Front Street and the downtown riverbank, is dated. CP-TEL would donate the internet circuit with a low band width for this update project. When visitors log on they will hot a splash page asking them if they’d like to pay to access a higher band width. There’s also an option to give festival organizers higher bandwidth connections for up to 20 devices with special network IDs.

NHDDC Treasurer David Stamey said the commission would probably have to carry the brunt of this load. CP-TEL Account Manager Stewart Carnline presented the commission with quotes for 1, 3, and 5-year agreements. Chairman Van Erikson said the prices are tough, but it’s a needed feature in the downtown area. The next step is to look for anyone interested in partnering with the NHDDC on the project. The commission will meet in May to get its first look at the proposed budget for the next fiscal year and will vote on it in June, so Stamey said he needs something by May 1 so he can try to work it into the budget.

Moving on to other tech updates, the City’s new website will be available for a soft launch on Monday. In tandem with this, the new widget will be ready for a mid-March launch once the City website is live.

The widget provides an RSS feed which pulls in events from other business and organization calendars so they can be found all in one place. There’s an App component as well, which would help visitors plan their trip to Natchitoches based on what events are coming up.

It also offers geo fencing, beacons and push notifications. Beacons would alert visitors to ongoing special inside stores as they walk by them. Push notifications would alert them to any schedule changes for events or festivals.

Yet another exciting addition to the area is the start of a bike share program, which will be fully implementable by June or July. Erikson said they will work with the Bantam Strategy Group to determine the exact date of implementation. They’re considering waiting until the City, DOTD, and the Rapides Area Planning Commission finish a bike and pedestrian master plan for Natchitoches, which is underway. However, this particular project could take around a year to implement.

The Cane River Waterway Commission is working on a plan to dredge Cane River Lake North of the Church St. Bridge. Jim Rhodes said it’s amazing how shallow the river gets. They’re looking to dredge 12 feet deep with wide channel in the middle.

While the Steel Magnolia movie is returning to theaters for three days in May to celebrate its 30th anniversary, it will not appear in Natchitoches until Nov. 8-14. Mark Your Calendars for this special treat, which Tourist Office Executive Director Arlene Gould said is more appropriate because November is the month the movie was released 30 years ago.

Upcoming events include:

NSU Events:

March 9 – N Side View Day

March 22 – Long Purple Line Luncheon in the Student Union

March 22 – Flavor of Louisiana Event in Prather

April 13 – Dragon Boat Races, which will be a student-led festival for the first time

May 5 – Track & Field Southland Conference Tournament

May 7-10 – Softball Southland Conference Tournament

May 10 – Graduation/Reunions

May 23-24 – Freshman Connection Session I

May 30-31 – Freshman Connection Session II

June 19-20 – Freshman Connection Session III

July 9 – Freshman Connection Session IV

July 27 – Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival

July 27 – Louisiana State Fiddle Championship

Other Events:

Feb. 23 – Cloutierville Mardi Gras Parade

March 2 – Krewe of Dionysos

March 2- Krewe of Wag-Wag-us Mardi Gras Parades

March 12 – CASA Awareness Social

March 14-16 – Friends of the Natchitoches Parish Library Book Sale

March 16 – Ann Williams Brittain Butterfly Release

March 16 – NYP Pub Crawl

March 23 – Bloomin’ on the Bricks

April 5-7 – Girls Weekend

April 6-7 – Melrose Arts & Crafts Festival

April 27 – Kiwanis Pancake Festival and 5K

April 27- Find Your Park Festival

One thought on “NHDDC discusses updating downtown WiFi, soft launch of new City website, bike share program

  1. I don’t know why the city even announce plans of any project. They never hear what the people want and are going to do it anyway. This bike share plan is moving ahead before the study is completed?? WHY? What if the results say it won’t work? Then the argument why do a study and waste 79k if you are going to do it anyway? And you have new wifi for downtown and dredge the river downtown. DOWNTOWN DOWNTOWN DOWNTOWN! Everyone should stop paying tax and let DOWNTOWN handle it!

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