by Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter May 1999
[Note: This column was written before the town launched its own official web site so some outdated information has been removed. The site itself was superseded by the town web site and is no longer available, but was a really big event when first launched!]
Fire up those web browsers because Foxboro’s on the web!
Yes, the unofficial Foxboro web site is up and running and very impressive, and all due to the generosity of Pattiann Malynn.
Patti, originally from Colchester, Vermont, moved to Foxboro a decade ago after living in Boston and Western Massachusetts. She’s a freelance author’s editor, which she describes as doing everything from substantive editing to project management. She’s also a web page developer, and editor of The Common Link.
She’s also an extremely busy volunteer, lending her time to the Foxboro Community Youth Coalition, Foxboro Human Services, Council on Aging, Senior Center (she teaches classes Friday mornings from 10 – 12) and several other town organizations. She’s designing many of the web sites you see around town.
Patti felt that our town needed a web page to facilitate increased communication, and to serve as a resource point. For you computer folks out there, you’ll be impressed to know that she “hard codes” the web page: In other words, she doesn’t rely on a web-designer software like Front Page. As a web designer myself, I can attest to the added challenge and satisfaction of coding in this manner.
The FoxWeb site is impressive. There you’ll find the Foxboro Bulletin Board (a local discussion area), The FoxWeb Teen Job Board (are you an employer with a job for a teen? Are you a teen in search of a job? Post your free listing here.) There’s the FoxWeb Volunteer Board (Does your Foxboro non-profit organization need volunteers? Post your needs here) Also included are local news, opinions, up to the minute weather, links to the Sun Chronicle, even a place to nominate your favorite web page of the month!
FoxWeb also provides links to other’s web sites, such as the Foxboro Police Department, Foxboro Public Schools, Foxboro School Committee, FHS Alumni Page, Foxboro Regional Center for the Performing Arts, Foxboro All-night grad party, Foxboro Jaycees, and coming soon, Foxboro Council On Aging.
Patti is quick to note that any non-profit Foxboro organizations are welcome to request that their site be linked to FoxWeb.
So with all this going for it, what would it take to make this the “official” site of Foxboro? Well, for one thing, the commitment of town officials. Patti described town officials as “supportive and encouraging,” but realistic about the time and energy involved in making this “official”.
She says, “Soon, to not have a web site will be like not having telephone service. Being on the web is not an innovation anymore; it’s expected. The goal of town government is to communicate with its residents in a way appropriate to the citizenry… The web is perfect for disseminating information. It can be accessed at a time that is convenient for the citizens, and in the end makes for less of a workload for departments.”
She cites recycling as an example. How many times a week does town hall answer the exact same questions about what can be recycled, schedules, and so on? Put that information on the web and you cut down the number of phone calls.
But the information must be timely, and Patti notes that web sites need to be updated regularly so visitors have a reason to return. Naturally, the information on the web site would also be available in the traditional hard copy form for those without Internet access.
So what’s next for FoxWeb?
First, Patti would like to put the town budget on the site, but would need a way to get an electronic copy on a regular basis. She’d like to put the town department / committees’ agendas and minutes on the page, but how to get the information easily and on a regular basis?
“It’s not my intention to make extra work for town hall employees. I’m hoping to find an easy, consistent way to get this information on the FoxWeb pages,” she adds.
This summer, Patti will be making the site more accessible to the disabled.
Finally, there’s plans for more news coverage. She explains, “This town is going to be going through some tough decisions soon regarding space needs. If the plans and other information were put on the web site, confusion and misinformation would be reduced.”
Patti will continue to update the site as her free time allows.
[Web site link superseded by official town web site a few years later; link removed from this page]
Check out the town’s unofficial home page. If you have a Moment, send an email to Patti to thank her for all her work she’s done a terrific job and the site is something the whole town can be proud to call our own.