(Daily Record, The (Wooster, OH) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ORRVILLE -- When the nearly 3,000 riders in the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure come rolling into the city June 15, the Orrville Area Chamber of Commerce will roll out its new Discover Orrville app.
In the works for more than a year, the smartphone app will have a high-tech format for visitors to learn anything and everything they might want to find out about the city.
Lori Reinbolt, president, said the board began discussing the possibility of creating a mobile app in 2009.
"We wanted to try and stay on top of the latest technology as a way of getting information about Orrville to visitors, and to make sure our businesses were represented in this new format," Reinbolt said.
But she said the technology proved too costly, and the app project went onto the back burner.
Then four years went by, and with the growing certainty of the Heartland recreational trail coming into the city's downtown, bringing potential new waves of visitors, the Chamber decided to revisit the app.
This time, Reinbolt said, the quote to develop the project came in at a much more reasonable level, and with the help of a grant from the Orrville Area Development Foundation, the Chamber was able to come up with the $8,500 needed for the project.
Working with Wooster-based Birdeye, the organization was able to develop an iPhone and Android app that would have a profile for each affiliated Chamber business, lists shopping, dining, sightseeing and accommodations, and also integrates four slots for various social media.
Reinbolt said an event-specific portion of the app contains two sections. One is for listing community events, while the other is a Chamber members section.
Still another section of the app is designated for news of the community and press releases from businesses and industries.
According to Reinbolt, all points of interest included in the app are identified by GPS coordinates, allowing them to be pinpointed by users using "near me" technology.
In addition, Reinbolt notes, the advertising screen has a Chamber Choice feature, where the organization can choose what is shown there to better showcase special upcoming events. Otherwise the screen is used to present messages from advertisers in a rotating format.
Julie Smith, a Baldin-Wallace College student interning at the Chamber, said the app is in a "soft launch phase," although it is fully operational and can be downloaded at no cost.
Smith said the official launch of the app will take place when the GOBA riders come to Orrville. She noted a tent will be set up at the GOBA encampment at Wayne College to introduce the users to the app and talk to them about how it can come into play for their one- day sojourn in the city.
Smith said similar informational promotions about the app aimed at Orrville residents will take place at such summer events as the Fourth of July softball tournament, the Rib and Music festival, the bi-weekly concerts in Orr Park,and others.
"We want to be in their face and show people the possibilities of this app," said Smith. "We want to educate the public as well as Chamber members."
"I don't think there's a better way to kick this off than by having about 3,000 visitors come to town to try it out," Reinbolt said, adding she believes the investment in the technology will pay big dividends for the city.
The app can be downloaded from the app store for the iPhone and from Google play for the Android.
Reporter Paul Locher can be reached at 330-682-2055 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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