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South Charleston smartphone, tablet app helps residents, visitors

South Charleston has become the first city in the Kanawha Valley to launch its own smartphone and tablet app for the city.

The app is available for Apple and Andriod products and contains a wealth of information for residents and visitors alike, ranging from street closures and traffic alerts to a map of shopping, recreation and entertainment options in the city.

Contact information for all city departments is also contained in the app.

"It's an additional way for us to communicate with residents," South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens said.

Mullens said he got the idea for the city to create an app after attending a convention and visitors' bureau meeting earlier this year. In May, Mullens told city council about the plan, and the decision was made to move forward.

City department heads administer alerts and informational updates for the app. The alerts range from public works notices, public safety alerts and community events.

Some of those alerts can be seen as "push notifications," which pop up on a user's screen. That option can be turned off, however.

"The main reason is . . . so we can have that instant communication with residents," Mullens said.

The city hired Scott Shaffer, the president of Planet Mobile Media in Charleston, to create the app. Shaffer has also authored apps for Capitol Market, Bridge Road Bistro, Husson's Pizza and Highland Hospital, to name a few.

Though the city had to pay for the creation and maintenance of the app, it's free for the public to download on iTunes and Google Play.

In addition to South Charleston, other local government entities in the area are beginning to pick up on the digital movement.

East End Main Street is currently working on a smartphone app that will be a guide for a walking tour through the neighborhood.

Councilwoman Mary Beth Hoover, who serves on the East End Main Street board of directors, said at the board's meeting Thursday that the app will be able to pinpoint the location of users and provide information about nearby historic buildings.

That app is still in development.

Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Murphy@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.


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