An Idaho city is planning a pilot wireless Internet - WiFi - project to cover a downtown area. And which one is it?
You might logically guess Boise. Wrong. Or Pocatello, with Idaho State University close by, or Moscow with the University of Idaho. Wrong again. Tony Ketchum or Hailey? Nope. High-tech Idaho Falls? Guess again.
The first, apparently, will be Meridian, which plans to set up a WiFi network in its downtown.
You might call this counterintuitive. Meridian is one of Idaho's hottest growth spots, certainly, and sometime this year - if not already, then probably soon - it leaps past Pocatello to become the state's third largest city. But its growth pattern is more like Henderson, Nevada, or Phoenix, Arizona, than like any of those other Idaho cities - it is spreading out over scads of new subdivisions, miles in every direction from downtown. And the downtown area looks, considering the astonishing change around it, not sio drastically different than it did a decade or two ago. It is not a downtown area in the same sense as Pocatello's, or Idaho Falls', or Nampa's. It is still a small-town downtown, characterized most obviously by the heavy traffic passing through it on the way to residential and shopping centers out on Fairview or Eagle roads, or somewhere else.
That said ... maybe Wi-Fi is a good idea. Meridian would probably be well served in efforts to develop its downtown area into something more (which at least to some extent its overwhelmed city staffers have tried to do). An a Wi-Fi system might be a useful tool in that effort.