Touch-screen to tell tourists about Auburn

$30,000 kiosk expected by summer
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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A new feature of Central Square could allow those inside and outside of Auburn to learn about the city?s history, restaurants and current attractions. The Leadership Auburn class of 2011 is planning to install a touch-screen kiosk on the pedestal in front of the Pawnbrokers building in Central Square. Leadership Auburn hopes to have the completed kiosk installed in May or June, according to Ron Schwab, a Leadership Auburn member. The kiosk could feature advertisements for businesses, a spoken history of the city, a list of museums, recreational opportunities, a map of Auburn, a list of upcoming events and more. The kiosk would have video capability as well as speakers for sound, according to Schwab. ?Envision a large touch screen that you walk up to, and there are 12 buttons,? Schwab said Monday. ?Now these buttons, one could be restaurants. You hit the restaurant button, and it could say, ?What kind of food do you want?? ? and you hit the button that says Italian, and all the Italian restaurants are listed.? Schwab said the kiosk would also be connected to a website in the future, so people outside Auburn could plan their trips to the city before arriving. Leadership Auburn expects the kiosk to cost around $30,000, and hopes to pay for the unit through the advertisements and contributions from interested parties, Schwab said. The Auburn Chamber of Commerce plans to keep up the content on the kiosk, but the maintenance of the unit and its pedestal could fall to the chamber or the city, Schwab said. ?As of right now the Chamber of Commerce has stepped up and said they would be happy to maintain the system,? Schwab said. ?So, we will hand over to them a complete working system. They then every year will have to renew the advertising contracts and so forth.? A basic advertisement on the kiosk will cost around $100 annually. An expanding ad that gives more information about a business could cost around $300 annually, and a static advertisement, or ad that stays on the bottom of the screen when a certain category is selected, would cost around $1,000 annually, Schwab said. Schwab said Leadership Auburn also plans to hold fundraisers for the unit. Any extra revenue would go toward promoting Auburn in travel sections of other newspapers in California. At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Holiday Inn on Grass Valley Highway, a vendor who installed similar kiosks throughout Kern County will have two demo units to show to Auburn community members. ?They are going to actually be able to see, touch and feel what these things look like,? Schwab said. Anyone interested in attending the event should call the chamber at (530) 885-5616, ext. 222. Auburn resident Rayce Lucas said Monday he thinks the kiosk is a good idea, but he has one major worry. ?The idea makes sense,? Lucas said. ?The only concern I have is: is it going to be abused? I do think that is a very positive thing for us. It gives everybody a chance to see what is in Auburn. I think it would be a great thing if we can protect it, let the folks get some use out of it.? Schwab said he pictures three or four kiosks in Auburn in the future. ?When you are a tourist, and you are standing in Old Town or Downtown or Central Square ? the kiosk is kind of designed to tell you what to do in Auburn,? he said. ?Really, the sky?s the limit.? Reach Bridget Jones at