The new Ellwood City Borough website launched yesterday, providing residents with a more engaging and informative online resource.
Currently, the old website is still functional, though the homepage should soon have a redirect link to the new website. A quick comparison between the old and new reveals why it was time for change. The old borough website was designed primarily for desktop use. The new website is mobile friendly and features more contemporary aesthetics, such as bigger pictures, drop down menus and a more user friendly layout.
Most importantly, the website provides a far more informative resource for residents and visitors.
A completely new feature, and one of recent interest in the community, will be an interactive capability. The borough will communicate events and emergencies, such as power outages, via their website.
Following the Inmetco fire in November, visitors informed borough council that there was uncertainty regarding public safety. Through the new website, the borough will be able to quickly post any emergency information.
“Previously, if there was a power outage in the evening, there was no way to communicate this to the public immediately,” Borough Manager Bob Villella said.
In addition, the website includes borough ordinances and codes and will feature council meeting minutes. Previously, the most convenient way to find local ordinances was to call the Municipal Building, and the only way to read the meeting minutes was to attend council meetings or read summaries in the Ellwood City Ledger or EllwoodCity.org.
Every department also has own section including, but not limited to, the borough council, borough management, the fire department, police department and electric department.
“While all of this information has always been available, it was located in each department,” Villella said. “The new website will put all of this in one accessible location.”
Villella said there were many important aspects to borough departments many residents do not know about. For example, our fire department is involved in a cooperative program with other departments, such as Franklin and Wurtemburg-Perry, meaning the departments combine as one to assist each other in emergencies.
The website will also promote the community by providing information on Ellwood City amenities, such as the swimming pool, Ewing Park and Stiefel Park.
The links page features reciprocal links for other organizations such as the Ellwood City Area Public Library, Ellwood City Area School District, Riverside Beaver County School District, the Ellwood City Chamber of Commerce and the Ellwood City Hospital.
“Many of the amenities our town has are what other communities are trying to develop,” Villella said. “We’re just trying to refine ours.”
Events such as the Farmer’s Market, Festival and Concert Series will also be advertised.
A FAQ section answers questions the Municipal Building previously had to answer via phone calls. Questions include, “How can I pay my electric bill?” or “When is yard waste pickup?”
Additionally, there is a tip line to report problems to the police, for those who are hesitant to report criminal activity directly to officers.
Although the website is launched, more features can be added on an as-needed basis.
“The new website is better for the community, better for us and helpful for everyone,” Villella said.
Construction on the website took place over the summer, following a contract with local design company Thought Process Enterprises for $3100 with a $50 maintenance fee.