A new Salt Lake City pilot program called Rose Park Connect aims to make it easier for residents of the west-side neighborhood to access Wi-Fi and computers to find information about essential services.
The Rose Park Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County have teamed up to provide a computer lab at an LDS church located at 760 N. 1200 West.
The lab will be open Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“Digital equity is a real issue that the pandemic has magnified and made more complex,” Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said in a news release, “but now, more than ever, people need access to information that can help them and keep them safe.”
Mendenhall said she wants Utahns living in Rose Park to have a place where they can go online to apply for a job, find a COVID-19 testing site, do their homework and fill out the 2020 census.
Carlton J. Christensen, an LDS stake president as well as chairman of the Utah Transit Authority Board, said the churchwants to be “good community partners in trying to provide essential computer access to our neighbors in the Rose Park Community.”
Rose Park Connect will run for the month of August, and then community leaders will reevaluate and see if it is meeting residents’ needs. The city’s goal is to eventually expand the program to other neighborhoods.
Salt Lake City is also working on offering outdoor access to Wi-Fi at the Sorenson Unity Center campus along with solar benches that provide Wi-Fi and charging stations.
Rose Park Connect is supported entirely by volunteers and the computer equipment is being provided by Salt Lake City. If you would like to volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Census Bureau staff are scheduled to be at the meetinghouse this week to answer questions and help Utahns complete the census. A community health worker will also be present to hand out face masks and provide information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Participants will need to maintain social distancing and wear a face covering while in the computer lab.
“We … know if we’re going to get through the challenging days ahead,” Christensen said, “it will really require us to work together and support one another.”