I've been planning a municipal wireless freenet here in Charlottesville for the past 18 months. Unable to make any headway on my own, I sent a letter to the City Council earlier in the week, extolling the virtues of such a system and encouraging them to consider the creation of a network blanketing downtown. Well, it worked. They love it. We've started work immediately to look into the feasibility, and it looks real easy.
There's really just one major concern, and that's bandwidth. Bandwidth is cheap if it's just for one person. But you can't just go get a DSL and resdistribute that bandwidth to 100-odd people. Well, you can, but once they find out, it's over, so that's not a great option here. An ISP-class connection is pretty much required, and that takes some serious cash, and deep-sixes the "cheap" part of "cheap and easy" with this project. Fortunately, one of the city techs is way into this project (he's an OSS/Linux/[SL|FS]. geek...gotta love it), and he's going to start looking into this with the city's vendors.
I'm optimistic that we'll have this system up in a matter of weeks.