Pleasant Hills Web site wins state-contest

By STACY LEE For The Corridor
July 10, 2008


Pleasant Hills' borough Web site not only is popular with residents, but now has received recognition on a state-wide level.

The borough placed second in the Pennsylvania State Boroughs Association Municipal Web Site Contest in June. "I thought it was notable that we were second in the over-7,500 (residents) category, because we were competing with the largest boroughs throughout the state," council Vice President James Funkhouser said. "I am glad that all of council supported this project, which I believe has a positive impact on Pleasant Hills, and I'm excited that I could play a small part of it."

The Website, http://www.pleasanthillspa.com/, was created in October by Charles Maiden, a borough resident and Web designer for Data Blueprints, LLC.

Funkhouser said Maiden came up with most of the ideas for the site. "He deserves a lot of credit and takes pride in the Web site," he said.

Maiden acknowledged the borough staff and Funkhouse for their input. "Everyone has contributed," Maiden said.  "It's really a team effort.  We're seeing many hits on the Web site, which has a lot to do with the fact there's good information there."

Funkhouser said the Web site averaged 229 hits per day when it launched in October.That number has climbed steadily in subsequent months. The site averaged 1,839 hits per day in May.

Maiden, Funkhouser and other office and police employees have access to update the site. Funkhouser said the Web is a great tool to give residents current information, especially with the "newsflash" feature in the upper right-hand corner of the home page.

Funkhouser said the borough's previous Web site was created years ago to provide updates, consisting mostly of the minutes of council and planning commission meetings.

The current site includes general information and phone numbers, news, photographs, borough officials and staff; contact information, local history, legal announcements, an event calendar and weather.

A "Did You Know?" section lists facts about the borough, and the police department has its own page for news, monthly and annual police reports, and a lost-pet link.

The site also contains links to Web sites for the library, volunteer fire department, West Jefferson Hills School District, Baldwin' EMS, and community day.

Funkhouser said his goal is to make the site secure enough to give council members a forum for exchanging official e-mail.

"I get an 1-inch stack of mail every week," he said. "That's a lot of paper. We're working on a way we can securely deliver mail to council members. " 

At the statewide contest, boroughs competed in four divisions based on population: less than 2,500 residents; 2,500 to 5,000; 5,001 to 7,500; and more than 7,500. The Web sites were judged on content, clarity and effectiveness, and layout and design.

Content measured the thoroughness of coverage of borough operations and departmental activities, and whether information was presented in a way that easily could be understood by site visitors.

Clarity and effectiveness was judged on whether the site's information allowed site visitors to better understand local government and its function.

Layout and design determined if the site's appearance en~ourages viewers to use the site as ' a regular resource. 

( used with permission of The Corridor )

 

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