Downtown

RedZone Wi-Fi In Historic Riverfront District
You can't smell it, see it or taste it, and without a computer, you wont’ even know its there. But a wireless-enabled laptop computer knows what it is, and how to find it.

The City of Augusta is providing new, high speed wireless Internet system for free for the first 50 businesses that sign up, free to explorers and available to downtown settlers for a small fee. Augusta could be one of the few cities in the country to provide this Wi-Fi service free for business use. The service is intended to attract businesses, explorers and settlers to the downtown and help keep them there.

“We use it. I think it’s incredible, I’m a big fan of it,” said Frank Coco, co owner, with his brother, Anthony, of the Visage Salon and Day Spa on Water Street.

The W-Fi signal is available within most of the Historic Riverfront District, from approximately the Hartford Fire Station to Mill Park. It also travels across the river to City Center.

Patrick Quigg, owner of the Riverfront BBQ and Grill said his business uses the Wi-Fi service, and he also sees customers using it on their laptops while at the restaurant.

Explorers to the Riverfront Historic District with wireless-enabled laptops should be able to find the City’s Wi-Fi service and connect for free. Explorers must register for an account to use the system. The account expires after seven days, but may be renewed, also free. The service is available to downtown settlers, but at a cost.

Three tiers of residential service vary in cost based upon the amount of bandwidth speed. The different tiers cost $9.95, $19.95 or $24.95. The $24.95 level will provide the fastest Internet service available in the area. About 40 businesses have signed up for the service and about a dozen residents.

The Wi-Fi system is part of other efforts to revitalize the Historic Riverfront District downtown area, including the recent installation of signage throughout the City directing motorist to the Historic Riverfront District.

For additional information on the Wi-Fi service, or to register online, please visit www.RedZonewireless.com or call Dan Nichols, City of Augusta, at 626.2336, ext. 4177 or daniel.nichols@augustamaine.gov. 

Augusta Downtown Alliance
The purpose of the Augusta Downtown Alliance is to promote the historic preservation, protection and use of Augusta’s traditional downtown area, including that area’s civic and religious enterprises and residences and to disseminate information of and promote interest in the preservation, history, culture, architecture and public use of Augusta’s traditional downtown area, and adhering to its mission as follows:

The mission of the http://216.75.6.198/revize/augustame/businesses/downtown/augusta_downtown_alliance.php will develop a thriving, authentic downtown community, a focal point for life and entertainment in Central Maine, by improving the quality of life, promoting downtown and beautifying our historic city center as a source of pride for residents and visitors alike.

Augusta Dog Park in Historic Riverfront District
The Dog Days of Summer

Tasha stood back and watched Foxie and Mandy chase each other around the dog park .
Bashful and uncertain, the 2-year-old Pomeranian wasn't quite sure what to make of the pair.
Her owner, Paul Lariviere, a member of the Kennebec Valley Humane Society Board of Directors, thought Augusta's new dog park that opened Saturday at the Edwards Mill Park would be the perfect environment for his pet to socialize.
He said the dog park is a perfect environment for dogs to exercise and socialize safely.
The park included a 4,900-square-feet fenced area for smaller dogs and a 9,600-square-feet area for large sized dogs.
"I think this is just fantastic," Lariviere said. "It's nice that they got two sides, one for big dogs and one for smaller dogs, especially when you have a timid tilly. She was raised with cats and never met a dog she liked or tolerated so this is good for her. It's a great environment."
The park open Saturday with a ribbon ceremony at 10 a.m. More than 40 people and their dogs showed up for the event.
Mandy, the 8-month old Schnauzer, is owned by Donald Bolduc of Augusta. The retired millwright moved back to the city two years ago from Florida and missed having a place where his dogs could romp.
"I missed the dog parks we had in Florida, they were all over the place," said Bolduc who sat on a wooden bench in the park and watched Mandy play. "I read about this dog park opening in the newspapers, that's why I'm here. And I'll be back often."
Mac Lavigne came all the way from Mount Vernon so Foxie could meet other dogs.
"I want my dog to have friends," Lavigne said. "I live alone so he doesn't get to socialize. He's just having a ball with that pom."
Dan Nichols, former president of the Augusta Rotary Club, came up with the idea of building a dog park. He said the club raised close to $9,000 and the city donated the land.
Seeing the dogs and their owners enjoy the park prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony made it all worth while.
"It's beautiful," Nichols said. "Absolutely beautiful."
Augusta Mayor Roger Katz came out for the ceremony. Katz said he enjoyed seeing all the smiling faces and wagging tails.
"It seems like a long time in the making, about a year, which is seven years in dog years," Katz said. "And there's room for expansion with programs that center around dog activities."
Katz said after the ceremony, he planned on bringing his two mini goldendoodles to the park.
"My wife and I have kept it a surprise," he said. "We've kept the newspapers away from them."
While the Augusta dog park officially opened on Saturday, organizers in Gardiner were well on their way for a successful Barks in the Park festivities on the Common to raise money to build a dog park in that city.
Chris West, executive director of Gardiner Main Street, was busy selling T-shirts in the gazebo. He said the event will promote Gardiner as a dog-friendly community and raise money for the park, but also promote dog rescue groups.
"This is turning out great," West said as the event got underway. "There's a lot of vendors and local rescue groups."
Coastal Maine Great Dane Rescue manned a booth at the festival. Josh Sargent, a carpenter from Franklin, brought his 22-month-old Harlequin Dane, Tucker, to the event.
The 140-pound Dane was fitted with a pouch with the rescue's brochures.
"People get Danes as puppies and think they're cute, but don't realized how big they get," Sargent said. "Then they turn them over to a shelter or rescue group."
Roger Curran, president of Great Dane Rescue , said this is the kind of an event that helps rescue groups can get the word out. His group has found homes for 18 Danes this year, he said.
"Anything that promotes rescue groups and shelters and dog parks is great," he said. "At the Brunswick Naval Air Base they're trying to get a dog park in there. It's very much in the early stages. Parks are a great way for dogs to socialize and get some exercise."
The City Council will be asked to consider allowing a dog park to be constructed at the city's Waterfront Park. West said a dog park would help promote Gardiner as a destination.
"And we can do that in different ways -- through websites and iPhone apps and businesses," West said. "It will show that Gardiner is a dog friendly town."
Nichols said the group wants to sustain the park and are accepting donations and in-kind services. Those who would like to make a contribution can call him at 626-2336 or do it by mail. The Rotary Club's address is Box 118, Augusta, ME, 04330.
Mechele Cooper -- 623-3811, ext. 408
mcooper@centralmaine.com
Augusta Dog Park Rules

Welcome to the Augusta Dog Park, Off-Leash area.
The success and future of this park is dependent upon users taking good care of this facility. The rules are intended to help you have a safe and fun time with your dog. Also the rules are intended to help protect you and others as well as your dog’s health, and prevent fights—or should one erupt, respond effectively.

Augusta Dog Park Guidelines