ST. LOUIS (KMOv.com) -- On Wednesday, eight interactive Smart City kiosks went online in St. Louis.
The vertical touch screen information centers provide visitors and residents with information on restaurants and attractions as well as local resources and services.
Kyle Sparks was visiting from Cincinnati and used a kiosk a the corner of 4th and Chestnut.
"I've only been to St. Louis a couple of times and I was just kind of moseying around trying to find out what I could find and these make it really easy," he said.
The kiosks are part of the city’s Smart City initiative and have been in the works for two years. The information centers are being paid for without any tax dollars.
"There is no investment from the city or taxpayers to pull this thing off. It's entirely funded through sponsorships and advertising opportunities,” said Jacob Long, spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson.
The kiosks have categories for restaurants and attractions and will provide directions from the position of the kiosk. Users can also get help with transportation, ranging from live MetroLink train and Metro bus information and locations, to assistance with calling an Uber, Lyft or taxicab.
But the kiosks aren’t specifically designed for tourists. They provide practical information for those who work and live in St. Louis, such as job listings, counseling services and government services.
"I think one of the problems St. Louis has is the downtown is not as much of a focal point as it should be and this shows people what's down here that they may not otherwise know about," said St. Louis resident Mikhail Digman.
Seven of the kiosks are in the downtown area and one of those is located across the street from the Enterprise Center. The kiosks were activated just in time for the thousands of visitors to St. Louis for the NHL All-Star game.
"Perfect timing, it's not for the all-star game but the timing certainly helps,” said Long.
The eighth kiosk is in the Old North Neighborhood on St. Louis Avenue, across from Crown Candy. But the city hopes to eventually install more than 30 and possibly as many as 50 kiosks all over the city.