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Rep.Turner, Chris

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REP. CHRIS TURNER SECURES $750,000 TECHNOLOGY GRANT FOR NEW EAST ARLINGTON REC CENTER & LIBRARY  print page

by: Rep. Turner, Chris
08/21/2019

ARLINGTON – During the 86th Legislative Session, state Representative Chris Turner secured $750,000 for a Library Innovation Zone Grant to increase the community’s access to technology within and surrounding the new East Arlington Recreation Center and Library (EARL). EARL is expected to open in October 2020. The grant will be administered by the state Library and Archives Commission. Information about the grant was presented to the Arlington City Council during the August 20th, 2019 work session.

"The new East Arlington Recreation Center and Library is in the heart of one of the most economically challenged areas of our community, where it's difficult for many residents to access reliable internet and up-to-date technology," said Turner. "If you don’t have internet access, it can be virtually impossible to apply for a job, complete assignments for school or any number of other tasks. By providing internet service, laptops and other technology to the community, East Arlington residents will be better able to access medical care, employment resources, educational tools, and much more. I am glad I was able to obtain this crucial funding, which will make a real difference for many District 101 residents."

“We know that not all households in our growing community have access to computers or high-speed internet. Yet these tools today are critical when it comes to connecting our residents with educational and career resources, public services or even information about their local government or school district. Our goal with the East Arlington Innovation Zone is to improve access to technology and technology-centered programming to help bridge our community’s digital divide and ensure Arlington is a place where people of all ages and backgrounds can achieve their American Dream,” Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said. “The City of Arlington thanks Representative Chris Turner and the State of Texas for providing the grant funding that will make this Innovation Zone possible.”

The state grant funding will allow the City of Arlington to expand internet availability, creating a tech-centered community outdoor space, while increasing the technological capabilities within the facility as well. The latter will allow for the creation of a high-tech community room and a video chat room that partners can use to interact with residents through classes and meetings and virtual appointments, including appointments with medical providers. Additionally, the grant money will be used to add charging stations, a laptop dispenser with computers that residents may check out, internet hotspots for checkout, and will give residents the ability to interact with a robotic agriculture system to learn about gardening.
Turner added the grant as a rider to House Bill 1, the two-year state budget. The budget measure creates a Library Innovation Zone Grant through the Texas Library and Archives Commission. Upon final approval by the Commission, the city will be eligible for a total of $750,000. Funds not used during the 2020 fiscal year will roll over to the 2021 fiscal year, which begins September 1, 2020.

CONTACT: Emily Amps

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