Downtown Concord Launches a New App for the District
Jul 25, 2017 05:00AM
By Melanie Heisinger
Photo credits: Michael A. Anderson Photography, Lawson Bonds, Zack Roberts, Healy & Foye Jones, Concord Fire Department Archives, George Patterson, Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated, Historic Cabarrus Association, The Lore Local History Room, and The Local History Files of J.E. Ramseur.
Tell us a little bit about Downtown Concord's new app. What was the inspiration behind it?It’s a great resource for both visitors and residents alike. The app features a directory of downtown shops and eateries, galleries and gardens, upcoming special events, and basic visitor information including parking. The highlight of the app is a self-guided walking tour of Downtown Concord. Beacons have been installed at over fifty sites in the immediate Downtown area that utilize Bluetooth technology to create an interactive tour. The self-paced tour informs participants of the history of a particular building with accompanying images as well as the business that occupies the building present day.
The CDDC continues to explore new opportunities for reaching a broader audience of both local residents and visitors. The CDDC’s website manager and designer, nvisionative, came to the CDDC with an offer to build the app in a way that it is tied to the CDDC’s website, allowing information on the app to be automatically updated when that information is added or updated on www.ConcordDowntown.com.
The self-guided historic walking tour portion of the app provides a great leisurely recreational activity for all ages to enjoy. It can also be used as an educational tool.
What can the app do for those using it?
The app also provides a business directory which is a great resource for the public to know what all we have to offer in Downtown Concord. The app is also a great guide to Downtown Concord events.
The Events tab of the app includes upcoming things to do in Downtown. I think people are generally surprised when they realize how much activity is going on in Downtown. The events section includes everything from theatrical performances and live music to gallery exhibitions.
How has the launch been so far? Has it been widely welcomed by the community?The launch thus far is extremely encouraging. We are lucky to have strong community partners that support Downtown Concord and want to assist us in spreading the word about the app. Feedback thus far from users has been very positive. The Downtown business community in particular has been excited about the launch of the app. We are starting to see an influx of businesses sending us their upcoming event information to be sure their events are included on the app’s Events tab.
What's your favorite aspect of the app?My favorite aspect of the app from an organization standpoint is the compatibility of the app with our website. Because the features of the app are stored within our website, we are able to make real-time updates without having to work through a separate interface.
From a user stand point, the self-guided walking tour is the most exciting. Downtown Concord has a rich history so the ability to offer that type of interactive experience for people to enjoy just further promotes Downtown Concord as a visitor destination. The self-guided walking tour was researched and written by former Concord City Councilman Jim Ramseur. It is difficult to calculate how many hundreds of hours went into the development of the tour. The result is the assemblage of a significant amount of historical data regarding a portion of Downtown Concord now at the fingertips of the community for their discovery when they are Downtown.
Where do you see it going in the future? What are your goals?With the framework of the app in place, we are now brainstorming ways to expand. With the construction of the new parking deck next year, we are working through how we can utilize the app as a parking resource. We are also working within our organization’s committees to discuss other possible features such as ways to offer discounts or allowing people to opt in for push notifications.
How can we get the app?The Concord Downtown NC app is free and may be downloaded through Google Play or the Apple App Store.
AcknowledgmentsThe self-guided walking tour is a co-sponsored venture of the City of Concord, Historic Cabarrus Association/Concord Museum, Residents of Historic Concord and the CDDC. Local historian and former Concord City Councilman Jim Ramseur compiled the historic photographs and written histories for all walking tour sites.
Grateful acknowledgement is given to those who have assisted in this presentation. Terry Walker Ramseur, Ashley Sedlak-Propst, Mike Anderson, Diane Young, Leslie Kesler, Steve Medlin, Lynn Neal, Patrick Reilly, Tom Ramseur, Sarah Jones, Nancy Fries Faggart, and Ken Griffin.
References: A Bicentennial History of Concord by Clarence E. Horton, Jr., The Historic Architecture of Cabarrus County by Peter K. Kaplan, Open The Gate and Roam Cabarrus With Us by Adelaide and Eugenia Lore, The Local History Files of J.E. Ramseur, A Century of Progress – The Concord Telephone Company by Clarence E. Horton, Jr., Downtown Concord Historic District Local Designation Report 2008, Early Medicine in Cabarrus by Jane Harris Nierenberg, An Historical Sketch of Olde Concord 1796-1860 by Clarence E. Horton, Jr., Personality with a Purpose by NorthEast Foundation, Sanborn Fire Maps, Concord City Directories.