City of Fairview Heights Partners with CivicPlus for Website Design
The City Fairview Heights, IL is known as the crossroads of prosperity. What does that mean for the residents and businesses that call Fairview Heights home? It means the city is dedicated to the personal prosperity of its residents, and the economic development of its business partners. From a more geographic perspective, the City is located in the Metro-East region outside St. Louis. Missouri. With over 3 million square feet of retail space, Fairview Heights has earned recognition as the retail shopping hub of Southern Illinois, making it a convenient location to live, work, visit, and do business,
For the municipal leadership team in Fairview Heights, providing its over 17,500 residents as well as its visitors and businesses with a secure and informative digital experience is of paramount importance. That’s why two years ago the City made the switch from its previous, outdated website to the CivicEngage® content management system (CMS) from CivicPlus®.
According to Tom Weissert, City of Fairview Heights Information Technology Director, the City’s previous civic website was hosted on an dated platform, and one that was not easy for staff to manage.
“We had a website that was antiquated and not compatible with mobile browsers,” said Weissert. “We had different desktop versions of the website for different browsers—Internet Explorer, Chrome, Mozilla, and even Apple browser.”
For Weissert and his team, the previous website was easy to maintain but the administration suffered from its limited functionality.
“With the old platform, there were no bells or whistles,” said Weissert. “Citizens couldn’t sign up for news alerts. We’d have to send them to City Hall for voting information. We basically offered minutes and agendas for meetings and wanted to expand form there.”
According to Weissert, the decision to replace the City’s website was supported by the City’s senior leadership.
“We now have a new Mayor who has encouraged and supported our ability to update our digital systems.”
The Choice to Redesign with CivicPlus
According to Weissert, once the City was able to move forward in the process and identify a new city website designer, the decision was straightforward and easy.
“We needed to make changes. I met with people, and here we are,” said Weissert. Expanding further, he added, “We chose CivicPlus for our website redesign because of the expandability, the different options, and the different modules. We knew of course we had a budget amount to spend but we saw the expanded functionality and all the different modules that we could benefit from across different areas of our administration. We saw the opportunity to use the tools available in the CivicEngage CMS to promote our city and get messages out to residents and future residents.”
For the City of Fairview Heights, recruiting new residents from Scott Air Force Base, which is located less than ten miles from Fairview Heights, is an important part of their resident promotional efforts.
“When the soldiers and their families are looking to relocate, we want to make our information about our City to be as easy to access as possible,” added Weissert.
A Successful Implementation
Equally important, the City has benefitted from the initial and ongoing training available from CivicPlus’ expert certified trainers.
“We were very happy with the implementation process,” said Weissert. “In fact, we’re planning for more training within the next six months. We will be having some employees retire and new employees coming on board in supervisory positions and we want all of them to benefit from the hands-on training that CivicPlus provides.
After the Launch of the new CivicEngage Website
After a successful implementation and training process, the City of Fairview Heights is pleased to showcase a city website that better reflects a city and community at the crossroads of prosperity. For Weissert, he is also glad that the new CivicEngage CMS offers a decentralized content management structure so he can free-up his time to manage other key IT initiatives for the City.
“From an IT perspective, I’m busy as can be with other projects—maintaining the servers and the network. I like that I no longer have to maintain our City website as well. The only times I tend to get involved in updates if it’s there’s something easy to do and it’s after hours—like an alert form our Mayor. I like that the website can be maintained by each individual department. Plus, the support we receive from CivicPlus is phenomenal.”
And for the citizens, visitors, and residents of Fairview Heights? According to Weissert, he believes they benefit from the new parks and recreation promotions and features that have been built into the City’s website design.
“Fairview Heights has some of the nicest parks in Illinois,” said Weissert. “We have two baseball fields, a softball field, and a miracle league field built for handicapped children and adults, as well as a football field, tennis courts, and pavilions. We offer a lot of recreation activities, a day camp, Easter egg hunts, festivals, a free movie in the park, and more. Now, we can promote all such events right from our City website.”
With its new, mobile optimized, and fully functional CivicEngage website now live, the City of Fairview Heights already has plans to continue taking steps to engage citizens in meaningful ways using the technology solutions available from CivicPlus.
“We are in the process of setting up the CivicEngage® Send module,” said Weissert. “We are going to start one step at a time by sending out newsletters, and then go from there. We also added the Intranet module and will work to implement that in the future as well. We also plan to start using the system to send agenda packets to elected officials. We don’t use anywhere near all the available features in the system, but we will in time as we add more staff.”
As the City of Fairview Heights begins to further explore and take advantage of the integrated features and functionality of their CivicEnage website, they are confident that their partners at CivicPlus will continue to support their civic engagement goals.
“So far, we’re very happy,” said Weissert.”
If you would like more information on how a redesigned civic website can better help you meet your civic engagement needs, download our Local Government Website Redesign eBook.