Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Bloomfield committee working on website

by Steve Targo

April 19, 2012

BLOOMFIELD — Do a quick Google search and you won’t find websites for the town or the village.

But when it comes to joining the 21st century, at least one person has adopted a better-late-than-never philosophy.

On Thursday, March 12, Bloomfield Communication Committee Chairwoman Sara Schulz said she hopes to have a website serving the town and the village online by July.

Schulz, who was elected village trustee Feb. 7, said she spoke about Bloomfield having its own website several times while she was going door-to-door prior to that election.

“The idea of having a website seemed to go over very well with the people I talked to during my campaign,” she said.

Schulz mentioned Sunday’s community cleanup as an example of the types of things which could have been posted on it.

“Then you might get twice as many people to come out there,” she said.

Or it could be a place where everyone can find out when town and village meetings are scheduled.

According to Schulz, people have to visit one of three places to obtain that information — the Bloomfield Town Hall, Monroe’s Auto Service or the Post Office.

These places are located within Pell Lake. Monroe’s and the Post Office are one fifth of a mile apart. In fact, according to Google, one could walk from the Post Office to Monroe’s in three minutes.

While this may benefit Pell Lake residents, especially those who live near those three places, Schulz said Pell Lake is just one area of Bloomfield.

“If you live in Powers Lake or Nippersink, it’s a long drive to get to these places,” she said.

So far, the Communications Committee has determined what types of information and services the website will provide. Schulz said it will be a town and village website, and the next step is to put the website project out to bid.

For Schulz, it clearly is an important project.

“I think it’s important that the people in our community be a part of the community and know what’s going on … and be a part of local government,” she said. “I think that’s what the website is going to help accomplish.”

Content may include video feed

She said two main goals of the website are to make local government transparent and to encourage community involvement.

One way to do this may be to post videos of village or town meetings.

Schulz said she has encountered some negative feedback in this arena. As such, the town or village boards have not rendered any final decision yet.

“The negatives I’ve heard is that people won’t come to the meetings and there are people who don’t want to be videotaped. But (I feel) we actually might have more people coming to the meetings if they have access to it and watch it online,” she said.

Schulz said it also may reach those who can’t make the meetings but are interested in local government.

“Not everyone can make meetings,” she said. “If you have kids, you’re running around all the time and it’s hard for you to go to town meetings. Also, we have some seniors in our community who may not be able to drive to the meeting. … It’s not a substitute, but it’s an alternative if you can’t get there.”

For the record, Schulz said she has no problem being on video. She said she also looked into televising meetings, but there are no opportunities presently.

“That’s something I’d like to continue to look into,” she said.

As for what’s on tap with the website, Schulz said the committee already has decided that ordinances, a community calendar, meeting minutes, announcements and a business listing will appear online.

She said the proposed site will feature a page for the town of Bloomfield and it will connect to the Bloomfield Town Police Department webpage, which currently is online.

“So if you need to know anything about Bloomfield, this will be a one-stop place,” Schulz said.

She said she wants to see part of the site include updates related to the village’s ongoing attempt to annex the remaining town and information about the recent incorporation of a 12-square-mile region northeast of Highway H as a village.

“That’s usually one of the first questions people ask me,” Schulz said. “It’s a hot topic.”

The website as proposed won’t just serve Bloomfield residents. Schulz said with the business listing section, there may be an allure for tourists visiting Lake Geneva.

“People come to Lake Geneva, so maybe they want to see what’s there in the surrounding areas,” Schulz said. “This gives people an opportunity to see that there’s restaurants (in Bloomfield). It may be even good for people who live here, to give them a chance to learn about restaurants or other businesses they didn’t even know are in Bloomfield.”

So far, these are just starting points for the proposed website.

“As we go, I’m sure some things will come up,” Schulz said. “Websites are never static and you want to keep changing them.”