New kiosk promises downtown lowdown
by Glenn Moore
Sep 27, 2013 | 5113 views | 19 19 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A new electronic kiosk on Central Avenue near the Downtown Plaza, shown on Aug. 27, has an interactive touch-screen display and will be used to promote downtown businesses and events. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
A new electronic kiosk on Central Avenue near the Downtown Plaza, shown on Aug. 27, has an interactive touch-screen display and will be used to promote downtown businesses and events. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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An interactive touch-screen kiosk will soon be dishing out information about downtown restaurants, shopping and events as the latest addition to the Downtown Plaza at Sixth Street and Central Avenue.

The 6-foot-tall aluminum-and-steel kiosk was bolted down on the northeast corner of Downtown Plaza on Aug. 26. It sits a few yards from the roundabout curb near the entrance to Helm’s Ale House, 600 Central Ave.

Eventually, a 3-foot-high touch screen on each side of the kiosk will allow visitors to search a directory of businesses and information on upcoming events in the downtown area.

Amie Mendes, a city economic development management analyst, said a software designer is writing a program to operate the kiosk, and the city hasn’t decided when it will be turned on.

The $48,000 to build and install it came from redevelopment funds the city used to build the Downtown Plaza and roundabout.

According to Mendes, the information provided by the kiosk will be similar to a mobile application for smartphones and tablets available from Tracy City Center Association, a group of downtown business and property owners. She mentioned a map showing nearby shops and restaurants and a list of events in downtown Tracy and near City Hall.

Dino Margaros, president of TCCA, described the electronic kiosk as one of the last touches for the plaza.

He expects it to promote activities sponsored by the city, the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts, TCCA and Tracy Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s another tool we can use to get the word out, another tool to market events and another tool for the Grand Theatre,” Margaros said.

Andrew Malik, city director of economic development, sees the kiosk as a valuable addition to the downtown scene.

“You’re competing with all the other shopping areas in town,” Malik said. “The more downtown business owners can come together and market their business, the better.”

Information at the kiosk will likely be updated monthly, using a Wi-Fi connection, to reflect upcoming events and current specials, Mendes said.

She said there had been some discussion about the placement of the kiosk and whether it might distract Central Avenue drivers in the roundabout.

“It is interactive,” Mendes said. “We want people to stand there and look for information. It’s not an advertising billboard.”

The kiosk joins existing technology to get the word out about downtown, including the Downtown Tracy app and the TCCA Twitter and Instagram accounts, which can be found at www.tracycitycenter.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tracycitycenter.

•Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or gmoore@tracypress.com.

 
Comments
(19)
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SpikeVFR
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October 08, 2013
It's been a week, and I still can not get my head around someone thought paying $48k for a BIG iPad was a good idea and signed off on it. FORTY EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS
backinblack
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October 08, 2013
Get a bigger head.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.
SpikeVFR
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October 02, 2013
$48k, are you kidding me?!?!?!

And how many out of town visitors do you have in downtown Tracy? I am sorry, but it is not an international destination spot.
MyKompressor
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October 02, 2013
ChrisRoberts changed his name to fortheunderdog?
fortheunderdog
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October 03, 2013
No
fortheunderdog
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October 02, 2013
$48,000 to build and install that kiosk? Are you kidding me. It's almost like the wasted grant monies uses to build that empty transit building in the backround of the photo. What are our city leaders thinking about? Who's going to use that kiosk? Once it's up and running, I give it a couple of weeks before it's inop from kids damaging it. Then it'll look like every other eyesore in this city.
rrf
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September 30, 2013
It's much more useful if I can play Angry Birds on it or surf the internet!
1resident
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September 30, 2013
Who in the heck is approving the funding for such a wasteful, fluff filled project. This one is bad, but still does not out due that hideous Tracy sign, with the missing blue tiles and the "algae-filled" fountain. Not only does the

planning and development in this city gravely lack aesthetics, it also lacks pragmatism.
Opinionater
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September 29, 2013
Is this device exclusive to the downtown area? Will it devote resources for area non profit groups to advertise their fundraisers? (Tracy Interfaith Ministries, McHenry House, etc).

I hope this will be a "community" resource for our whole city, not just a few blocks. I hope this is addressed in forthcoming meetings.

MrSycamore
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September 29, 2013
I could see this being useful to the older generation or people who don't have cell phones but think the money could have been used in other areas. Hopefully they have a surveillance cam on it to protect their investment. It would be sad to see someone graffiti it. If someone hits it with a vehicle they should collect and not put it up again.
Macpup
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September 28, 2013
Yay - first a statue and now a kiosk for the taggers! Monopoly (tax-payer) money being spent again. How about the senior center or animal shelter... couldn't the money used on both these projects have been better spent.
newtotracy
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September 27, 2013
I sure wish that 48k had gone to something more useful. The downtown plaza is beautiful...and I personally like roundabouts...but it's a new traffic feature and I give the kiosk a rather short lifespan. Between being tagged by hoodlums or being mowed down by someone unable to grasp the concept of a roundabout...it will need fixing/replacing/etc.

I really wonder about the city sometimes...looking at the fence around the patio at Helm's (which is city installed and owned)...and the fencing actually COVERS an access cover and doesn't have proper ADA clearance. Plus...it's pretty hard for Helm's to serve beer out there if people have to carry a beer across the sidewalk should it start to rain or something. That violates the open container law...

The efforts are well meant, but sometimes the delivery isn't quite as well thought out I think. We're getting there...just need to get some new thinking in the top seats.
jdoz63
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September 28, 2013
I agree, what a complete waste of $$$! And to put it at the roundabout where it will probably be knock down or vandalized! It will also probably cost more money to maintain it. I just don't understand the major emphasis around downtown? If you want more patronage then ensure that the the majority of the businesses are open later than 6 pm? It's a ghost town anytime after that.
TracyRAP
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September 27, 2013
Such a waste of money...

Does the city not realize that almost everyone carries a touch screen that can dish all that information out in their pockets? Why not just make an app for 1/10th of the cost?
TracyRAP
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September 27, 2013
ETA: An app that actually works**
mommyofthree
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September 27, 2013
We don't have anything in our downtown that requires the use of this... LOL
rrf
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September 30, 2013
Agree! Not much of a downtown...
AverageBri
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September 27, 2013
I give it a week before the local spray paint "artists" have ruined this kiosk.
sb2482
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September 27, 2013
Agreed. I give it less than a week. "Artists" even in quotes gives them too much credit. They are lowlife scumbags who vandalize public and private property.


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