The Rapidian

Heartside to receive high-tech information boost

A new information system will inform Heartside residents and visitors about available resources.

/John Eisenschenk

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Heartside residents and visitors may soon experience a technology leap that is intended to help them identify resources in the area. The Heartside-Downtown Electronic Communications System (H-DECS) will be a wireless network of flat screen monitors that scroll announcements about currently available resources like food, shelter, classes and events in the area. Some of the screens will face outward behind storefront windows while others will be in places where residents regularly gather, like Degage and God’s Kitchen.

The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority has approved $8,800 toward the $16,800 plan proposed by the Heartside Neighborhood Collaboration Project, a ministry of Bethlehem Church. Up to ten screens are initially envisioned but there is no limit to how many others could be added. Organizations who have expressed interest in being an H-DEC site include Bethlehem Church, Degage Ministries, Guiding Light Mission, Heartside Ministries, Heartside Clinic, God’s Kitchen and Westminster Presbyterian Church. They would be responsible for initial installation costs and long-term expenses for maintaining the system, which are expected to be minimal.

In addition to helping people with special needs to reach their highest level of independence, it is hoped that downtown visitors will be able to direct people to the screens when they are asked for assistance.

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Jim, do you know if other cities have done the same thing?

Pete, I haven't heard of anything similar and couldn't find anything on the web. It may be unique to G.R.