Thursday, May 23, 2013
By Paul Koenig
GARDINER — The city is revamping its online presence with a new community website for event listings and a redesign of the decade-old municipal website.
The new community website, expected to go live later this week, will have a platform for residents to post photos, videos and comments after events and allow local organizations and nonprofit groups to advertise their happenings.
The city will unveil the updated municipal website this summer.
Both websites will use the new city logo approved by the City Council last fall. The logo, which features a gazebo, and community website were created as part of the city’s Orton Family Foundation Heart & Soul project — a two-year process funded by a $100,000 grant from the foundation to help create an updated comprehensive plan for the city.
The $10,000 cost for the website and logo was split between the grant and the city’s economic and community development budget, according the Nate Rudy, director of the department.
He said people should be able to access growwithgardiner.net starting Thursday, although it won’t be fully developed yet.
Rudy said it will be his job to take community contributions like photos and posts about events on the website to craft marketing messages for attracting residents and businesses to the city.
He speculated that the updated city website will draw from the style sheet that accompanied the new logo like colors, fonts and design elements.
The municipal website will be redesigned by the same web development that created it more than 10 years ago — Virtual Towns and Schools, a Massachusetts-based firm founded in Portland.
City officials have received complaints of outdated content on the website and issues when using the search tool, according to City Clerk Deirdre Berglund. The goal is to make the website more user-friendly and functional, she wrote in an email.
The city budgeted $5,000 for the project, but total costs, including city staff training, will only total $2,250.
In other business, City Manager Scott Morelli has also announced that the city will soon be issuing a request for proposal to implement free public Wi-Fi at Waterfront Park and part of the downtown.
The city will also issue requests for proposals for a new financial software provider and for a study to see if Time Warner cable customers are willing to pay a fee to fund a public access channel that will show city meetings and other local events.
Paul Koenig — 621-5663