MANHATTAN, Kan. – ( May 20, 2012) The City of Joplin’s new website launched thisweekend to cheers and congratulations after more than two dozen CivicPlus programmers,content specialists, designers and Joplin city officials worked tirelessly to rebuild the city’swebsite in a compressed three-week timeframe.
Driven to launch the site before the May 22nd “Day of Unity” that will commemorate theone-year anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that ravaged the city, CivicPlus, the nation’sleading developer of local government websites, is donating the website to aid the city’srecovery. The company sponsored a Hackathon in Joplin the last weekend in April tojump-start the process.
Nine teams of Midwest designers and programmers worked to develop innovative solutionsfor Joplin’s new site in three areas: overall web design, functionality for emergencymanagement and functionality for community engagement. CivicPlus developers and Joplincity officials incorporated the best ideas into the new site, which now serves as Joplin’sdigital town hall.
“Rebuilding Joplin is more than just bricks and mortar,” explained Joplin Mayor MelodeeColbert-Kean. “CivicPlus has helped us rebuild Joplin’s digital home and brought new ideasto old ways of doing things. Their gift to our city is another example of The Miracle of theHuman Spirit that so many volunteers have shown over this past year.”
CivicPlus is donating over a million dollars worth of services and support to the city,including its premium website package, best-practice training, 24/7 support and a waiver ofannual maintenance and hosting fees, for as long as the city and CivicPlus remain inpartnership.
“We did what we could to help a neighbor in need,” said CivicPlus CEO Ward Morgan. “Wedidn’t come to Joplin with hammers and nails. We came with laptops, headphones and astorehouse of knowledge about designing government websites. That’s how we could bestcontribute to the rebuilding of Joplin.”
CivicPlus built a number of features into the new site that will increase communityengagement and enhance emergency management. Emergency Alerts and Alert Centerfeatures will provide an alert bar at the top of each website page to inform residents ofactive emergencies, as well as a permanent section on the homepage to notify citizens ofinformation pertaining to an active alert.
Joplin residents also may sign up to receive non-emergency alerts and updates from thecity via text or email, including project bid opportunities, job postings, calendar and newsitems.
Another feature, Citizen Request Tracker, facilitates two-way communication by givingresidents a convenient way to alert the city of issues or concerns that may range fromreporting a streetlight outage to a neighborhood issue. Once an account is created, thisinteractive feature offers residents easy access to the city official assigned to handle thatparticular topic.
In addition, a “Joplin’s Voice” button gives residents an open forum for dialogue on topicsthat matter to them. Ideas and opinions can be voted up or down, and the city has a chanceto enact ideas based on feedback.
Morgan explained that the website will continue to grow in terms of functionality and design.“Joplin’s site will not be a static presence on the Internet,” he said. “It will be a constantlyexpanding and growing platform that will continue to offer citizens more ways to connectwith their government.”
Joplin residents and visitors can take a tour of the city’s new website at http://www.joplinmo.org
About CivicPlusBased in Manhattan, KS, CivicPlus has designed more than 1,100 local governmentwebsites serving 43 million citizens throughout North America. A recipient of the Center forDigital Government’s Best Fit Integrator Award for delivering extraordinary digital solutionsto public IT projects, CivicPlus transforms municipal websites into powerful two-waycommunication platforms that let citizens talk to and participate in local government. Thedigital community engagement scale is a free online evaluation tool developed by CivicPlusto help local government measure the effectiveness of their website. In 2012, CivicPlus willinvest more than $2 million in products, research and development. The innovativeCivicPlus Government Content Management System (GCMS™) now offers more than 60applications including Community Voice, Citizen Request Tracker, MuniMobile, Facebookand economic development tools. Founded in 2001, CivicPlus was selected by Inc.Magazine as “One of the Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies in the U.S.” in 2011.For more information visit civicplus.com.