SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Mayor Gary McCarthy announced Tuesday the City of Schenectady has applied for a $2.5 million Community Development Block Grant with New York State Homes and Community Renewal under the CARES act. The funding will allow Schenectady to invest in expanding Wi-Fi access in underserved neighborhoods, creating a community information portal, and launching a new Stay Well patient monitoring service for seniors at risk of COVID-19.

Expanded Wi-Fi access

A total of $2.25 million will be invested in Goose Hill, Park Place/Huron, and the Stockade- the City’s portion of the investment will be $500,000. The expansion of public access to WiFi will bridge the digital divide between low and moderate-income residents, aid the Schenectady School District, and support the Schenectady Fire Department’s Emergency Telemedicine Project.

Community Information Portal

The community information portal will be the new landing page of the expanded public Wi-Fi. It will be a public news and information website developed and managed by the Daily Gazette. The portal will provide public health information and news about COVID-19, as well as other helpful information from the City.

The portal will also provide direct access to local news and a new community portal where residents can interact directly with City officials on various topics. The intent is to let community health partners and other businesses sponsor and advertise on the website so that it can become self-sufficient. Grant funding will cover the start-up cost of the portal, which has an initial budget of $250,000.

“We are honored that the City of Schenectady chose to partner with The Daily Gazette on such a vital public health and community information initiative,” said The Daily Gazette publisher John DeAugustine. “The Daily Gazette is looking forward to working with Mayor McCarthy and his team to develop a self-sustaining and user-friendly community portal that will become the go-to website for residents, businesses, and visitors interested in the latest information and news regarding public health and the City of Schenectady.”

Stay Well telehealth monitoring

Grant funding will allow City officials to work with Ellis Medicine and healthcare partners Idion and Advanced Diagnostics, Inc., to launch a Stay Well remote patient monitoring program for seniors 65 and older at risk of COVID-19. The service will be used to help mitigate infection, reduce hospital readmissions, and support immune-compromised residents by allowing the hospital system to monitor patient temperature. The initial cost of the project is $491,290.

“We feel strongly that all of the elements of our grant application will have a profound community impact and help better equip our City to manage current and future public health crises,” said Mayor McCarthy. “We want to thank our community partners for working together to put forth such a strong application. Each project is shovel-ready and can be completed within twelve months of receiving the CARES Act grant funding from New York State Homes and Community Renewal.”