By Wade Coggeshall
— Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.'s motivation to create a mobile app highlighting city life has proven apt.
Known as "Indy Downtown," the mobile app for smartphones has been downloaded nearly 11,000 times since becoming available in November last year.
"We were getting a lot of traffic on our website in terms of event searches and parking help - especially when it comes to nightlife," said Taylor Newell, communications coordinator for Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. "That was really the driving force behind (the app) - trying to use the information we have on the website, which is always resourceful information, and make it more accessible and on the go."
Indy Downtown has categories for arts and entertainment, museums, restaurants, shopping, lodging, parks, sports, and worship. The latest edition added a category for nightlife.
The organization also has more than 5,000 Twitter followers and sends out a weekly e-newsletter to more than 10,000 subscribers.
"In terms of how many people use those different resources, it's definitely the mobile app and our e-newsletter (that are our most popular)," Newell said. "It would not surprise me if the mobile app surpasses the e-newsletter. It would be a good thing. That's the more convenient resource for the type of information we're trying to get out."
Officials with Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. didn't have specific expectations with how much the app would be used, but say they're happy with the results so far.
"Because of the amount of traffic we were getting on our online resources, we did sort of expect it to get popular fairly quickly, as long as we marketed it correctly," Newell said. "I think we've been successful. We're going to continue finding ways to make it better."
Given the continuing growth of downtown, Newell sees information channels like this becoming increasingly useful. He cites more pedestrian-friendly infrastructure like the Cultural Trail and Complete Street initiatives, as well as a new IndyGo bust transit center expected to open in a couple of years, as proof that an increasing number of central Indiana residents are coming downtown for more than just work.
"Little things like that are really helping to improve downtown and Greater Indianapolis as a whole," Newell said. "There are a lot of great things to be excited about."
The "Indy Downtown" mobile app is available in the iPhone App Store or Google Play. For more information, call 237-2222 or visit the website at IndyDT.com.