The updated city website went online during the summer of 2012. It is a site designed by Civic Plus – who have also worked to design websites for cities like St. Paul, Chanhassen and St. Cloud.
In a package coupled with Watonwan County, the city enlisted the help of Civic Plus to recreate their old website as a more user friendly and interactive webpage for the residents of St. James.
The website is updated by St. James EDA Director Molly Westman. The city has also worked to train department heads to use and update their pages. Department heads can update their page to include recent changes about which the public should know, such as road maintenance, theater updates or utility work. This information can be useful for residents on a day-to-day basis.
Through the website, the city is able to send out weather alerts and other updates about what is going on in St. James.
“Now we really need the residents to sign up so we can take hold and really massage that engagement process,” says Westman.
The website is a work in progress and Westman is open to ideas or suggestions about how the website can be made better.
Having a running website is an important part of growing as a community and is something of which the city can be proud. Visitors to St. James now have access to information that they probably would have gone without in a time when the website was less navigable.
“When you need something in today's society you don't pick up a phone, you're more inclined to do the research first and look it up online. So to have a nice web presence is important,” says Westman.
The ability to interact with constituents will also make the website a very useful tool for residents. The people of St. James now have a platform from which they can enact change by contacting city officials and making them aware of something that needs to be fixed. Users can even upload an application to their phones to take a photo of potholes that are immediately transfered to the city, so they know there needs to be a repair.
Residents can also fill out an event form on the website and submit the form so their event will be featured on the e-calendar at the city of St. James homepage.
“We felt like this would give us the ability to engage with our constituents a little more with respect to our Facebook page and Twitter feed,” says Westman.
The new website is a step in the right direction for St. James as the city continues to expand and modernize for the greater Watonwan Area. The information released through the webpage will prove helpful for any community member who subscribes to updates.
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