Monday, November 10, 2008

Athens City Launches New Website

Brianna Savoca

After a year of planning, Athens City launched its new website to better serve the community and city departments.

"It's the third revision of the city's website," Web Designer Ron Forrest says. "I think we've solved a lot of the issues that we've had."

Some of the issues include informing citizens of boil orders, road closings, and other emergencies.

"It's going to allow us to update information...and be a lot more timely in terms of our street closures," Ron Lucas, a Street Maintenance Specialist with the Athens City Street Department, says.

"This will allow us to do it right from our desk, immediately as soon as we find out," Lucas says.

Ron Lucas talks about how the Athens Street Department will use the new site.

With brand new features, community members will not have to stay logged on to the website 24/7 to receive notifications.

"You can register to receive an e-mail notification for a boil order or a city news release," Forrest says. "Or you can opt for a text message on your phone."

Click HERE to register for City of Athens newsletters, press releases, boil order notifications, and Athens City Council and commission agendas.

Plus, community members can send messages or questions directly to city officials on the new site.

For example, citizens can report potholes on the new website.

"We wanted to present information to the public in an easy way," Forrest says, "and for us to receive information from the public in an easy way."

Web Designer Ron Forrest explains why a new website was created and the new features.

"This one is going to be more interactive," Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl says. "Parts of the site just needed upgrading in general to make it more useful and user-friendly."

Mayor Wiehl says approximately $13,000 went into creating the new website, which was approved in spring 2008.

Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl discusses the new city site.

The new site features a community calendar, an Athens City planner, and links to online government documents and the city code.

The website also has links to Athens City Council, the local media, businesses, arts, parks, and recreation, and guides for someone moving to Athens.

"I like this system because it gives me some control over what's going to be on the website," Lucas says.

"I think that's what the ultimate goal is, is to give each department their own piece to update and give it their own feel," Lucas says.

Lucas already has plans for the street department's new site.

"I want to start with a 'meet the street department' type of thing," Lucas says. "Maybe getting into some video work showing how we do some of the jobs we do."

Ron Lucas talks about his plans for the new site.

Web Designer Ron Forrest says anyone with questions, comments, or advice on improving the new Athens City website should contact him immediately at

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