Batavia City Council approves new downtown kiosks to promote local businesses

The Batavia City Council unanimously voted at Tuesday’s meeting to approve a proposal by Batavia MainStreet to install kiosks with information on local businesses, events and maps of the city.

“After several committee meetings and different options, we came down to our favorite, which was installing five kiosks in the downtown area,” said Batavia MainStreet President Bob Hansen.

The idea for the kiosks was inspired by a similar project in downstate Champaign, which promoted local businesses and events.

“I think it’s a neat idea to have those,” said 2nd Ward Alderman Alan Wolff. “I know I constantly hear questions like ‘Well, how do I get to this?’ ‘Where’s this at?’ ‘How do I find this?’”

The kiosks were designed by local artist Marc Adams. Four of the kiosks will be one-sided, while one will be double-sided. Each kiosk will be fully weatherproof.

Each kiosk would cost $3,200, the bulletin boards inside the kiosks would cost $540 each which, coupled with a projected shipping and installation expenses, would bring the total cost of the project to $21,480.

Kiosks would be placed at locations in downtown Batavia with regular foot traffic, such as the Wilson Street entrance to the Boardwalk Shops and the corner of North River Street by the pedestrian bridge.

Kiosks not on city property will need to be approved by the property’s owners.

“If we can get 10% of the people who walk down the riverwalk every day to go somewhere else in town to spend money, that’s a great thing,” Wolff said.

“I think this is awesome,” said 6th Ward Alderman Nicholas Cerone. “From a marketing standpoint, the people that are already here are coming for one reason, let’s market them and keep them here and get them to the next spot.”

The information presented on the kiosks will be updated regularly.

“That will be MainStreet’s responsibility. It’ll be a minimum of once a month or right after a major event,” Hansen said. “We’re not going to have any advertising on the kiosks. The only advertising that you might see would be a flyer or a promotion for an event like ‘Cocktails in the Park’ where there’s sponsorships.”

City Council Members noted that the Batavia Park District had built similar kiosks in certain location around the city.

“I think this is phase one on this project,” Hansen said. “I think we’ll be back in a year or two years with additional locations and a continued conversation with the park district.”

Digital kiosks were briefly considered.

“A simple 2x3 message board is upwards of $15,000 for one, then you’ve got a monthly fee for the software,” Hansen said. “It just became out of our budget right away.”

The kiosks are anticipated to be fully installed before the summer.

“Our goal is to get the installed by mid-May at the latest,” Hansen said.