Why is the new kiosk going to waste?

Water St. pedestrian promenade kiosk Water St. pedestrian promenade kiosk

I drove by the new Water St. pedestrian promenade (I like that name better than ‘Sesquicentennial Legacy Plaza’) yesterday and noticed that the new kiosk is not being used.

The Harvest sculpture dedication is still promoted on the south side of the kiosk. The north side only has a downtown directory poster.

I don’t know who’s in charge of the new kiosk but clearly they’re dropping the ball.

  • Maybe Neuger Communications should take care of it. Their offices are right there on Water St, about 100 feet away and they have a contract with the City for PR/communications.
  • Maybe By All Means Graphics should take care of it. They produce the NEG and many/most of the event posters in town.
  • Maybe the NDDC should take care it since a vibrant downtown is their mission.
  • Maybe Northfield.org should take care of it since they are the go-to web site for local events.

We taxpayers spent a shitload of money on this fantastic pedestrian promenade. It’d be nice to see the kiosk used effectively. Starting this week.

11/10 update: Jim Bohnhoff, Bohnhoff Design, sent me these PDFs and attached an explanation in comment #15 of the discussion thread.

Left: Kiosk sponsorship ad (PDF)
Right: Kiosk proposal (PDF)

12/21 Upate:  Jim Bohnhoff emailed me his latest draft of the downtown directory for the Kiosk with the sponsorship ads in place:


62 thoughts on “Why is the new kiosk going to waste?”

  1. Hear! Hear! I noticed that, too. The downtown directory print is so miniscule as to be worthless to tourists. I am sure this artistic town can come up with something better. How about Jim B’s map on p. 36 of the NEG?

  2. I believe that there is some serious “collaboration” going on with the kiosk, and we Northfielders know that such a process can take time.

    However, I ran into Jim Bohnhoff, the Downtown Directory Designer, the other day, and it was my understanding that he was moving forward with a large-size version to replace the temporary example put in place for the Dedication Day.

  3. Griff, are you really talking about paper notices? I know the upfront cost is higher, but there should be an electronic poster space and directory somewhere downtown. It would be programmed from anywhere. The lobby of the new theater at Burnsville Center has electronic movie poster kiosks, and they’re very cool. Perhaps if the kiosk is considered too vulnerable to vandalism, there could be a screen in the window of the NHS or a network of them several prominent spots. And while you’re at it, replace all the lame plywood signs in Ames Park with a digital sign at the safety center.
    This could be a collaborative project, with funding shared by several groups.

  4. How about we mount a flat panel in there, and a wireless device, and it can be updated remotely with a constantly scrolling powerpoint type slides.

    Saves paper and labor, and it appeases the inner geek in Griff? 😎

    The city supposedly has this tremendous IT infrastructure that it has been working on. Lets utilize it! (it could also be a wi-fi access point for tourists?)

  5. John, how about a hologram like CNN had for the election? Sounds like you know about the latest technology. Could a hologram of Maggie Lee be beamed into the kiosk? She would be a great ambassador for the town. And I hear purple is THE color in fashion and furnishings this year so having her would be very au courant.

  6. Griff, I agree with you that the space is being wasted.

    If my memory serves me correctly during one of the last Streetscape meetings we talked about an electronic kiosk. However, by that time the City did not have the funds to put one in there. I totally agree it should be electronic, maybe the next one they put in will be…

    There should be a collaborative that updates that on a regular basis, i.e NDDC, Chamber, Northfield Entertainment Guide, Northfield.org, NHS and the colleges. There are probably more, but it needs to be updated easily and often.

    I will walk down there in the middle of January when it is -20 and change out the signs.

  7. Great offer, Hayes! Thanks. I wonder if ad space could be sold for a section of the kiosk space, with proceeds going toward the funds needed for an electronic kiosk. Or toward a Maggie Lee hologram.

  8. I’ve been thinking, and I think a cool LED billboard on the side of the safety center would be a great opportunity to broadcast public announcements, promote local events, and sell enough advertising to pay for itself and provide seed money for more screens around town.
    It’s certainly worth exploring.

  9. I would like to see something similar, like a nice “Welcome to Northfield” type sign with nice landscaping on the corner in Ames park.

    On the bottom of it could be a small LED sign or scroller, that would serve that purpose.

    I am not so sure that putting it on the safety center would give it the right visibility based on viewing angles.

  10. Susan,
    Unfortunately, CNN was not actually using holograms. When Wolf stood in the theater in CNN, he could not see the person who was seen on your TV screen. That image was superimposed onto the tv feed by a computer.

    Real hologram technology isn’t there yet.

  11. I’ve seen Jim Bohnhoff’s work-up for the kiosk signage and it is a ‘doable now’ concept. It is nearly ready to go and will give everyone who envisions a hi-tech version with moveable e-type and wireless updating plenty of time to form a commitee, raise funds, collaborate on content…

  12. Good morning,
    I have met with Joel Wolinsky and Jody Gunderson for the EDA and have been working on a proposal for working with the City of Northfield and the NDDC for the monthly and yearly upkeep, graphic design, printing and sponsorships for the Northfield Legacy Plaza/Riverwalk Kiosk.

    The new lighted Kiosk located at the entrance of the Riverwalk will be for many visitors the first impression of downtown Northfield. My hope is that it will always be neat, clean and easy to read, while being very welcoming, informative and will highlight important upcoming Events.

    I will be working with the NDDC, Nfld. Entertainment Guide and the Nfld. News for guidance of each months Coming Events.

    The Kiosk will also include a large cross referenced Street and Building Map and Business Directory. Surrounding this Map will be (10) yearly sponsorship ads.

    This work will include both sides of the Kiosk for one year with the hope that this would continue on after the initial year. The design and printing of the information Kiosk will be paid for by the (10) sponsorship ads located around the Map.

    I am hoping to have all the materials printed and installed in the Kiosk before the end of November.
    If your business is interested in becoming a Sponsor please contact me – Jim Bohnhoff at 612-968-5013 or jimbohnhoff@yahoo.com.
    I am including three pdf documents showing a photo of the Kiosk, my proposal, along with additional information for potential Sponsors. Thank You.

  13. Jim, will the map be updated with current information:
    Deceased businesses deleted
    New businesses added

    I see half a dozen non-existent businesses listed, not sure if all the new businesses have been added but see a few.

  14. Hello All,
    I will be updating the Coming Events which is on the South side of the Kiosk once a month. Each month one or two upcoming events will be highlighted with larger type along with a list of upcoming events for the next six weeks.
    On the North side of the Kiosk will be a newly updated Street and Building Map of the downtown. There will also be a newly updated Business Directory which will be be updated again in six months. The NDDC has compiled the list and has been making the changes, it is a pretty big job and we could always use another set of eyes.
    I was out and about on this dreary day, and found some enthusiastic sponsors. So far the Rueb-N-Stein, Froggy Bottoms, Northfield Chamber of Commerce and the Northfield Historical Society have committed to sponsorships at pretty good price of $30 a month for an ad which can work 365 days a year day and night, plus shows potential customers right where your business is. If you are interested don’t be shy, at this time, there are six additional ads available, I am hoping to get the Kiosk ready for business the week of Thanksgiving, just in time for the Winter Walk. So give me a call at 612-968-5013 or e-mail jimbohnhoff@yahoo.com. A neat, tidy and informative Kiosk is going to be an excellent addition to the new Legacy Plaza & Riverwalk.

  15. Has there been any further discussion on the movement of the Farmers Market to this site next year?

    I know at one point it was rumored, but has anyone heard anything yet?

  16. Hello everyone,
    I have been working feverishly on updating the Street and Building Map, a big job, there have been quite a few changes since the last update along with redoing most of the Map so it will look fantastic when it is printed quite large at 18″x31″ for the North side of the Kiosk. Also been finishing up selling the Sponsorships – have 7 sponsors committed and finishing up the ads. There are 3 sponsorship spaces around the Map still available. Let me know if you are interested – if your business could use additional customers – don’t miss out on this opportunity.
    I have been working with Rob with the Nfld Entertainment Guide and we have decided that it is important to change the COMING EVENTS every two weeks. For instance, in looking at events like the Winter Walk it will be great to have this event highlighted at least two weeks before the Walk – but it wouldn’t be much use to have it still listed for two weeks after the event. So this will take some more work and time – we are hoping that there will be another sponsor to help defray the costs of this important aspect of the Kiosk. Look for COMING EVENTS on the South side of the Kiosk in a couple of days.
    Jim B

  17. James.


    Recall our conversation last week at G’bye Blue Mondays? Hope you’re not letting that slip away.

    Why don’t you give a little up date here regarding those plans as how you might pitch the big package to the EDA for a really spectacular “kick” in the Kiosk?

    Remember, you were to get that proposal together for a presentation to be discussed at the Dec 11, EDA meeting. That means in the EDA packet by Dec 5.


  18. I will answer my own question in hopes that it will push a couple more businesses into becoming sponsors so we can get this thing moving ahead! Only $30/month puts your business on the kiosk with a year long commitment. I would think there might be a hotel (Todd?, Jeff??) out there or a British Pub or Indian Restaurant (Norman/Julie??) that might see the merits of being on the kiosk!

  19. I drove by the kiosk early this morning. There’s a Winter Walk poster tacked over the poster of the Harvest sculpture dedication on the south side of the kiosk. Nothing yet on the north side.

  20. Griff,
    I have am finishing up the updating of the City wide Map and have three more sponsorships to fill. I am hopeful I will have all the files ready for the printer later next week. I’ll send along a copy of the updated Street & Building Map in the next few days.
    Looking forward to the Winter Walk this evening.
    Jim B

  21. Apparently there are two more kiosks in the pipeline.

    All three are half-baked by City Hall in that no plan was made for their operation including upkeep and maintenance nor budget provided for their operational expenses.

    That Jim has picked up the ball and is running with it is brilliant and that downtown organizations will (and are expected to) fill the financial vaccuum is to be expected and applauded.

    But until this project and ones like this are fully thought through it will, like the NCRC and the many other projects of its ilk, ultimately be a burden on some section (ie we need sponsors) or all (ie tax) of the community.

    Jim, have you asked the colleges to be sponsors?

  22. Jim, it’s been 12 days now. What’s the hold up? And why keep the Winter Walk poster up all this time? Why not put some community posters in the kiosk in the interim, eg, the NAG play?

    Norman, where are the two new kiosks to be located?

  23. I am finishing up the work on the graphics for the North side of the Kiosk. I have redone & updated the Street and Building Map along with the City wide Map. I am currently redoing the Directory of Businesses. All these pieces of the puzzle have taken time since they have all had to be reformated for the new size as well as looking good at the larger scale. Sometime you should go out and sell something – just to see the time it takes. I need to create materials to talk with potential sponsors, I then need to meet with them, if they decide they want to be sponsors, I then need to get their copy, photos, logo, etc. then I make up the ad, print out proofs, take the proofs to the sponsor, make any corrections, and get a check for 1/2 th cost of the ad. Holy crap it takes a lot of time – it is so easy to complain and gripe – if it is so important to you why don’t you ask if you could help. Whoops – it is so easy to criticize. I took this project on – because I believed in it and it is important. I have spent way more time than I am getting in return. It is fantastic that someone actually gives a rip about the Kiosk – but – …. thanks for your imput.
    I am doing my best. I will be changing the Coming Events this week.
    Jim B

  24. Jim, the kiosk is a civic amenity, paid for with our tax dollars. So if it’s not being used, I think it’s fair to ask about it.

    You’ve added comments here about when you expect to have items ready/done and when those timelines pass and we don’t hear from you, I think it’s fair to ask for updates.

    I’m not complaining about your plan, I’m complaining about your lack of communication about it. I understand that things change and unexpected stuff happens. Just let us know.

  25. GW – I don’t know the entire situation regarding the arrangement between whomever, whatever, Mr. Kiosk and Mr. Bohnhoff. However, I’m pretty sure that Mr. B does not report to you or to Locally Grown. Offering your public “performance review” of Mr. B on this community journalism (oxymoron obvious) site is out of line. If you have a beef, call the guy, or better yet, talk to him face to face.

  26. Mr. Bonhoff, no good deed goes unpunished. Thanks for your hard work. My guess is that with temperatures below zero and life revolving around family holidays, we have time to get this resolved before hundreds of people are wandering aimlessly along the river.
    Maybe it makes sense for the city to do a request for proposals and have someone take over the ad sales and some of the other work. I can see where it would be a nice addition for the News or the Entertainment Guide or the Convention and Visitors Bureau, but not enough to make it worthwhile to sell on its own. It would be nice to have the poster/map located in a few more spaces, like City Hall, the library and so on. That would increase advertising sales potential as well.
    Good luck with this.

  27. NHS was one of the organizations that paid for a sponsorship. I am very happy with Jim’s services. I understand that Jim is doing this by himself and it is a very crazy time of year, so he needs some extra time.

  28. Rick, I disagree (comment #32).

    If I understand it right, Jim is a contractor to the City for this project. He’s being given the opportunity to make money on this. So it’s not really any different than any other private contractor, eg, Bonestroo Consultants, Waste Management, Spencer Jones Architects, etc. that does business with the City.

    As taxpayers, I think it’s acceptable — valuable even — to discuss publicly the services our fair city is delivering to us, either through the staff the city hires or through the contractors the city hires.

    When I initially blogged about this, I had no idea who was responsible for the Kiosk. Jim got alerted and chimed in for a while. I was thrilled and said so.

    His participation here apparently helped him land another sponsorship (Hayes!) — and suggestions are being made by others… even goodnatured ‘hints’ from the Mayor-elect! So we’ve been inadvertently helping Jim to market his product.

    He responded with some updates early on… and I gently nagged him for more when his estimated delivery dates were missed and he didn’t explain/update us.

    So I don’t think I’ve been unfair or harsh. But I could be wrong so I’m open for more feedback and criticism.

  29. Arlen, yes, you can ask! Above in comment #19 Jim wrote:

    So far the Rueb-N-Stein, Froggy Bottoms, Northfield Chamber of Commerce and the Northfield Historical Society have committed to sponsorships at pretty good price of $30 a month

  30. Hello Kiosk watchers,
    Of course, the price for a sponsorship is $30 a month, with a one year committment. There were 10 available sponsorships and I have sold 8 spots with 2 spots currently available. To answer GW, I was paid by the City as a consultant to design a prototype graphic for the 24″ x 63″ South side of the Kiosk. I created the design in photoshop and made the files ready to be printed at Graphic Mailbox, for $500. I also updated, redrew and recolored the Downtown Street and Building Map along with the City wide Map, which was neccessary with the large size of the Kiosk Map, this I did for an additional $500.

    I was on the Streetscape Committee which helped with design decisions for the new Legacy Plaza on the Riverwalk. The Committee discussed several times the need for a plan to keep the Kiosk updated with useful information and looking fresh and as a good reflection on our downtown. That was the last I heard anything about it until the Kiosk was in place, I talked with Joel Wolinsky at the City and he knew that something needed to be done, but there were other priorities. So I said I would try to help and here we are today.

    I appologize for being a bit short yesterday morning. Some day I will learn not to give dates of when I hope something could get completed. If you reread my previous statements I had a lot of information available and it wasn’t just to get the word out – I was responding to your question – because I was in the midst of trying to help figure out how the Kiosk was and now is getting completed for the upcoming year.

    This is something completely new – why would you think that it would just automatically get thought about and completed – your questions were certainly valid – but as is often the case – no one really was in charge – I talked with Ross and the NDDC and hopefully they will be incharge. So right now – I am valiantly trying to finish up the work on the North side of the Kiosk. Which will have two nice readable Maps showing the Downtown as it is in Dec 2008, along with a cross referenced Directory of Downtown businesses and Promotional spaces for sponsors, which is lighted for evening viewing.

    The Riverwalk Legacy Plaza Pedestrian Promanade is a lovely place to enjoy the Cannon River and the heart of Northfield, I believe it is an excellent example of the City of Nfld, the Streetscape Committee and a number of other committees and doing a #1 bangup job. We should all be darn proud.
    So holy crap – I have spent an hour writing – I hope I made some sense. I need to get back to finishing up the many graphic details which you will ‘soon’ see close up on the New Kiosk.
    Jim B

  31. Hello snowy Kiosk watchers,
    Be sure to get out and enjoy the great shops around town as well as a wintry walk around the Riverwalk – it is lovely at most every time of the year.

    I am finishing up the graphics for the north side of the Kiosk – which included redoing the street and building map as well as the city wide map. I will include a pdf of the entire north side – which measures 24″ x 63″.
    If you have specific comments you reach me at jimbohnhoff@yahoo.com.
    Thanks and have a happy holiday!
    Jim B

  32. I’ve an idea for Griff, the virtual guru … or is it, Griff the guru of virtual communications. Anyway … a virtual kiosk!

    Featuring streaming video from cameras located ariund the three kiosks, and bountiful with the graphics of Bonhoff … and maintained updated etc., by the combined efforts of ByAllMeans Graphic, Bonhoff Design and Griff’s generous and devoted concern for Website guruing …obviously a downtown business friendly effort. funded by the Chamber of Commerce. CVB Bucks!

    Each user could up date from their store or office, adding timely; Daily, hourly, BLUE LIGHT SPECIALs.

    If you’d get of of Bonhoff’s back, I’m sure he would complete the concept for the other two .,. including recommended locations, design, advertisement availability, etc.

  33. I would love to see a webcam pointed at bridge square that would take a picture, say ever 10 seconds or so.

    Or, we could do the “Kisok Kam”, and point it at the sculpture on the plaza.

    Griff, you being the technology guru… how much would something like that cost? The camera probably isn’t that expensive. It is the streaming cost (even if it is just a photo every 10-15 secondg) and the server correct?

    I think this would be something really fun to do. There are enough geeks in this town, that we could fund it.

    Any idea who could host it? Is there any local hosting in Northfield?


    1. I like the idea of an electronic kiosk, Victor. Here are two photos I took in Sept. of one such kiosk along the oceanfront in Puerto Vallarta.



      That kiosk has a companion website: Vallarta Vive.

      I could imagine a similar kiosk for Northfield, linked to a version of the Northfield Entertainment Guide, and yes, funded by CVB dollars.

  34. Well, Victor and I agree (see #3). It must indeed be a cold day in …well, Northfield. I also think the city should explore a full-color LED billboard on the side of the safety center, leased to an established operator with a share of time going to local announcements and a share of the revenue as the fee.

  35. I hope everyone is staying warm.

    Anyway, last year at one of the final streetscape task force meetings, we talked about an electronic kiosk. But we were told because of the climate we are in that it would cost A LOT of money. I want to say somewhere around 20 to 30K per kiosk. Now, I am not 100% on that but Griff you were at the Ames Park meeting and I asked about electronic kiosk and I got the same response, right?

    On the other side, for the last few months there has been a group that has been meeting and we have been talking about developing podcast walking tours of Northfield and developing a website like you all are talking about above. In fact we are applying for a grant and if we get it, we hope to start developing these podcasts and website in early spring/summer.

  36. Hayes, are you kidding? I’m freezing! But you, are the future.

    Everywhere I go, I see and hear your input. Webcam… walking video tours .. citizen journalism, CVB … creative insight …. and ABCD, asset based community development, that’s what it is about! I for one, am not impressed with LED signage for our DT. Otherwise, the proper and creative best use of the Cable funds is the answer. A citizen task force is the pathway.

    The problem is citizen journalism gives too many voices a bully pulpit but that’s the end of their effort. Stay the course.


  37. Hayes, if the city, the Chamber, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, NDDC, the News, Northfield.org and the Entertainment Guide all have websites, why wouldn’t you focus on making podcasts that could be used by all of them, rather than starting a new site? I think this goes back to the cable television and Northfield.org discussions, where the need is a universal platform of information that can be tapped by all.

  38. Anne,

    We are still in the early phases of setting up a network for the podcasts. I never said that all those site you listed could not use them. The main point I was making is that there is a group out there that is working on developing historic walking tours of Northfield.

    I can tell you that in the discussions we have had, that we want everybody to be able to use these podcasts to promote Northfield.

  39. Hayes, that’s great. Maybe your venture can be a pilot program for shared local content. Since you are doing podcasts, it would be a great opportunity to develop a sharing system that would include multiple media layers. And maybe this would be a good opportunity for the city to create a media board to review all options for the cable television/internet fees and recommend a system that’s fair to for-profit and nonprofit media groups in town.

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