Renaissance Brandon is gearing up for a modern twist on the city's historic downtown.
Yesterday, it officially received $144,000 in provincial funding to move forward with its vision for the implementation of a downtown wireless Internet hub.
The hub's boundaries will run roughly from 13th Street east to Sixth Street and from Rosser Avenue over to just south of Princess Avenue, depending on sight lines or building barriers.
Once in place, it will provide a maximum of up to two hours free surfing time for anyone with a laptop or other mobile device.
Those who log on to the service will automatically be directed to Renaissance Brandon's homepage, which board chair and Rosser ward councillor Corey Roberts hopes will act as an ambassador of sorts for all that downtown has to offer.
"This will be a key aspect of launching our brand as Renaissance Brandon," Roberts said. "(It will have) all the exciting things, whether it's concert updates, new buildings that are under construction or links to all the heritage components (of downtown)."
If all goes well with the local Internet service provider that's already been hired to provide the service, the hub should be "live," beginning in Princess Park, by the summer, Roberts said.
In the future, it could feature an interactive walking tour of downtown's historical sites and a "live eye" camera looking out onto Princess Park, he said.
In making the pledge of funding at Brandon's downtown Music Studio yesterday, Premier Greg Selinger called the idea of a wireless Internet in a municipality's downtown a "cutting edge" one.
"The idea of having an arts and culture hub downtown makes a ton of sense, especially when you see the kinds of architectural gems that you've got down there," he said. "The wireless puts a very modern face on it. It's a whole new medium of communication which allows people to be involved with the community and involved with each other using the latest technology."
A portion of the provincial funding announced yesterday will also be put toward the installation of additional "Hub" signage in the downtown and the purchase of benches, picnic tables and bicycle racks that will pepper the wireless hub area.