A family attending a youth baseball tournament at a Seymour park has time to kill between games.
One child is hungry, another one wants to find something to do and the parents would like to visit a local attraction.
While the Jackson County Visitor Center website is full of information on restaurants, events, attractions and more, the family may not know about it.
Once new signs are installed in four of Seymour’s parks and one in Brownstown with a QR code to scan with their cellphone, people will be able to browse the website for dining, lodging, events, attractions and more.
Plus, cards with the QR codes will be placed inside the visitor center, hotels and other places around the county to bring awareness to all that Jackson County has to offer.
“The website that they have is already this great resource. We just kind of wanted to be the megaphone to help get people there,” said Dan Robison, a member of the Leadership Jackson County community awareness/growth project team with Rachel Blish, John Doriot and Emily Mowery.
When they were assigned to the project team in November 2020, the four began thinking about all of the great things they have to experience in Jackson County. Their task was to bring that forward.
“What is it that we would want to make the community more aware of that would be of benefit to the broader community?” Robison said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of locally owned small businesses struggled in various ways, and there was a lot of uncertainty, he said.
The project team wanted to create awareness of what the county has to offer, which would benefit the businesses, and do it in a way that’s sustainable and make a long-term impact.
Doriot said it became clear to the group that the opportunity to partner with the visitor center would be a natural fit, so they reached out to Executive Director Arann Banks and Public Relations Manager Jordan Richart.
Once they were made aware of the center’s comprehensive website, Doriot said their focus shifted to finding a way to drive traffic to the site.
“Especially people from outside the county and don’t know about Jackson County, even those here in the county that live here but may not know what we have to offer, we started thinking about developing a solution to bridge this gap, something that’s accessible and visible to those out and about in the community,” he said.
Blish said their solution was the QR code. During the pandemic, many restaurants used those to display their menus. The group’s QR code also could be placed at restaurants to guide diners to local attractions and information.
“We wanted to make sure that we’re using our businesses in the best sort of way,” Blish said. “We want to attract people to the businesses, attract them to the attractions we have but not to put the focus on the businesses that have to rebrand themselves and add a QR code to everything they have. They don’t need a QR code on the table or windows.”
Richart helped the group create the code so it connects to the visitor center website.
Mowery said people like her who live outside the county will now be able to browse through dining, lodging, events, tours, attractions and shopping.
“That was amazing that people from outside the community could scan this QR code on the signage while visiting and get all of these neat things to offer,” she said.
Westwind Sign Co. in Seymour is making the signs, and the project team is working with the Seymour Parks and Recreation Department to figure out which parks to place them in and get them installed.
The hope is to have them in place by early summer.
“We would love to put more around,” Blish said of adding more signs in the county. “The funding has to be there, but once Jim Noelker creates that sign in the first place, we could keep multiplying them with the funding available.”
The QR code cards are available at the visitor center for anyone to take to have available at their workplace or business.
“We’re not going to turn anyone down. We want it in as many hands as possible,” Richart said. “They’ll come at no cost to you. As long as we have them in our office, please stop by or shoot us an email and we’ll drop them off, whatever works best for you. We’ll get them to you.”
Banks said this type of project has been a thought for about three years but never happened due to limited resources, and she’s glad the LJC project team took the initiative to get it done.
“This team was able to take your idea and formalize it into a project that’s usable,” LJC Executive Director Rexanne Ude said. “These things can be replicated easily. It’s a resource now.”
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The QR code cards are available at the Jackson County Visitor Center, 100 N. Broadway St., Seymour.
Scan the code for dining, lodging, events, attractions and more in Jackson County.
To be added to the visitor center website, contact Jordan Richart at 812-524-1914 or [email protected].