JOPLIN, Mo. – ( March 8, 2012) Nearly a year after one of the deadliest tornadoes in U.S.history struck Joplin, Mo., government website developer CivicPlus will host a weekendHackathon with the City of Joplin to create new website technology and design featuresfocused on community engagement and emergency management.
Website designers and developers across the nation are invited to form their own teams ofup to five people and join CivicPlus in Joplin’s City Hall, April 27 – 29, 2012 , for a creativeand inspirational event. The result will be a new official government website for the City ofJoplin, and a citizen engagement model for cities and counties around the world. Interestedteams can apply at www.joplinhackathon.com by March 30, 2012.
“Keeping the public informed is a priority for the City every day, but that priority becamemagnified immediately following the tornado,” said City Manager Mark Rohr. “Through thisHackathon, and in working with CivicPlus, it is our goal to rebuild our website to not only becomprehensive and easy to navigate, but also a resource for our citizens to respond to theCity by sending us their concerns, ideas and ways to improve the City. Ultimately, when thesite is completed, visitors will be able to find information quickly, whether they are looking formeeting agendas, activities in Joplin, building permits or critical information during adisaster.”
CivicPlus serves 39 million citizens in more than 1,000 cities and counties across the UnitedStates, Canada and Australia, and has a history of helping local governments prepare forand manage communications during emergencies.
“As a technology business in a neighboring state, headquartered in a town withdemographics and tornado risks very similar to Joplin, we wanted to reach out and help inthe best way we could,” said Ward Morgan, founder and CEO of CivicPlus. “CivicPlusspecializes in helping local governments connect with their residents, and the Hackathon isa fun, energetic venue where many talented individuals who also want to help Joplin canwork together to produce amazing results for the City.”
Inspired by the company’s participation in the 2011 New York City Hackathon, the Joplinevent is modeled after a similar Hackathon CivicPlus held for its hometown of Manhattan,Kan. last fall. In addition to the design and functionality created during the Hackathon,CivicPlus will donate its CivicPlus Premium Website Package, which includes ongoing bestpractice training, 24/7 support, and a waiver of annual maintenance, support and hostingfees for as long as the City and CivicPlus remain in partnership.
The Joplin Hackathon will begin with registration and a kick-off celebration at 5 p.m. onFriday, April 27. The competition will close at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 29 with judging andawards following. A panel of distinguished judges will evaluate the prototypes and distributeprizes for best overall design and best functionality in two categories – emergencymanagement and community engagement.
City residents and business owners also are encouraged to submit ideas on what theywould like to see in the City’s new website. Ideas and digital photos may be posted on theJoplin Hackathon website at www.joplinhackathon.com.
Teams interested in participating in the event may visit the Joplin Hackathon website fordetails and to submit their applications by Friday, March 30, 2012. CivicPlus and the City ofJoplin will pre-qualify teams and notify them of acceptance by Monday, April 2.
The new website is expected to launch the week before the one-year anniversary of thetornado when the eyes of the nation will be on Joplin as residents remember and honor thevictims and heroes of this tragedy.
About CivicPlusBased in Manhattan, Kansas, CivicPlus transforms municipal websites into powerful twowaycommunication platforms that let citizens talk to and participate in local government.The company invests more than $1 million each year to research and develop newcustomizable, integrated eGovernment applications. The innovative CivicPlus GovernmentContent Management System™ now offers more than 60 applications including CitizenRequest Tracker™, MuniMobile™, Facebook and economic development tools. Founded in2001, CivicPlus was selected by Inc. Magazine as “One of the Fastest-Growing PrivatelyHeld Companies in the U.S.” in 2011, and is a recipient of the Center for DigitalGovernment’s Best Fit Integrator Award for delivering extraordinary digital solutions to publicIT projects. For more information, visit www.civicplus.com.