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Ask Matt ... about downtown wi-fi


The Lightning's intrepid researcher finds answers to readers' questions.

Q. What happened to the plans to make soccer fields at the old driving range on Asheville Highway in Naples? It looks like the project has been abandoned and the fields have reverted to weekend play by other teams.



The field of soccer dreams is no more. I spoke with Mike Gilliam, vice president of the Henderson County Soccer Association, the nonprofit group that developed the plans for the old Jake's Driving Range property. Gilliam said that the vision for four playing fields changed after Henderson County opened the Athletics and Activity Center on South Grove Street, whose single soccer field was a perfect fit for the youth soccer program. Thus, the lease on the 20-acre site in Naples was scrapped

Gilliam said that their group of young boys and girls consists of five teams and plays on weekends. Some of their home matches are played in Fletcher. "Programs are our number one priority, not facilities," added Gilliam. The new soccer field is artificial turf, another factor that attracted the soccer group.

Q. When will the city of Hendersonville launch its downtown Wi-Fi?

It's up. For those unfamiliar with the term, Wi-Fi is a local area wireless system that allows a laptop, tablet or cell phone user to access the Internet. The project has long been in the works and signal strength suffered when the city had to lower the transmitters. Downtown Economic Development Director Lew Holloway said that some of the delays were the result of getting all the antennas installed and because the city recently outsourced its information technology function to VC3, a company in Columbia, S.C.

I asked Lynn Huffman, the Lightning's own technology columnist, to check out the Wi-Fi service. She tested it along Main Street from Sixth Avenue to the Visitors Center and it seemed to work well and getting on was quick. Huffman noted some minor fluctuations in signal strength at some points along the seven-block area and added that from her past experiences one should expect a rapid drop in the signal upon entering a building. After the standard OK to terms and conditions, the city's Wi-Fi routes users to the Downtown Hendersonville home page. From there you can start surfing. So if you are dining outside on Main and the conversation slows, just whip out your iPad, log on and start surfing.

Email Matt Matteson at