With downtown development on the forefront, councilman Ben Molina is working with a Denver-based company to possibly bring an innovative tool to the Marina Arts District.
Molina says taxpayers will not foot the bill for this project. The company is selecting destination cities for possible installations, and the company would profit from advertisements.
“It’s going to continue that downtown revitalization that we’ve got momentum on,” Molina said. “It’s going to modernize our city, make downtown more appealing, and the biggest thing is, it’s a money maker,”
“IKE” is a technology company that manufactures larger-than-life tablets for cities with high foot traffic. The two-sided touch screens provide information about bus routes, street closures, and even restaurant menus.
Business owner Richard Lomax says this technology could help guide residents and visitors through future changes like the Harbor Bridge Project and construction on one-way streets.
“Our tourists and our guests are going to need to know how to navigate that and where things are, where all the new cool stuff is, and where the landmarks are,” Lomax said.
Those who frequent downtown said the project is attractive if they aren’t paying for it.
“I think that it would help professionals that come downtown for lunch during the day and in the evenings when they come for happy hour and spend some time downtown,” Holly Janota said. “It’ll help to realize where you are and the one way streets.”
These tablets are being installed in cities across the country. The newest is being installed in San Antonio this week.
If the demonstration goes well from the company, the city would place a bid on the tablets. Coastal Bend residents could potentially see this technology installed throughout the Marina Arts District late this fall.