City Council approves Nutter's budget: $624k to KEYSPOT computing centers - Technical.ly Philly

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Jun. 21, 2013 12:30 pm

City Council approves Nutter’s budget: $624k to KEYSPOT computing centers

This cash infusion will allow the centers, managed by the city's Parks and Recreation Department, to continue to operate roughly 15 hours a week, even though the $18 million in federal funding for the KEYSPOT program runs out this summer.

This KEYSPOT inside Francisville Recreation Center is one of the city's 19 public computing centers.

City Council approved Mayor Michael Nutter‘s budget yesterday, which means that the city’s 19 KEYSPOT public computing centers will get the $624,000 that Nutter had proposed.

This cash infusion will allow the centers, managed by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, to continue to operate roughly 15 hours a week for the next year, even though the $18 million in federal funding for the KEYSPOT program runs out this summer. KEYSPOT partners are currently seeking a sustainability grant to keep the nearly 60 other free computer labs, managed by various private sector partners, open.

As we’ve said before, this budget line item is also a symbolic one: it suggests that closing the digital divide in Philadelphia is a priority, if not a dominant one, for the Nutter administration.

In an effort to bring more adults into the city-managed KEYSPOTs, Parks and Recreation will work closely with the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy, an office that is focused on adult education and workforce development, said Ben Burenstein, program administrator of the city’s public computing centers.

“This is likely to mean establishing two to three hours of ‘adult swim’ weekly where no kids can come, which may be easy or very difficult, depending on the particular place,” he said in an email.

Just under half of KEYSPOT visitors are 45 or older, according to a preliminary study, though the city-managed KEYSPOT visitors skew much younger: In January and February 2013, 12 percent of city-managed KEYSPOT visitors were adults or seniors, according to data from Parks and Recreation. This is probably due to the fact that the city’s KEYSPOTs are inside recreation centers, frequently used by younger Philadelphians.

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