Jonesboro Competes for Website Redesign

Jonesboro’s city management is polling residents in a quest for a fully overhauled website.

Communications Director Jack Turner designed the current website, Jonesboro.Org, in 2000. He called it a “mid-level” website. He said he wants it to be fleshed out with modern features.

“There’s stuff out there now like online payments, submittal of forms, job applications, permit requests, stuff like that,” he said. “Even on the civic side — polling, community, calendars, discussion forums — all that stuff is what our site currently lacks.”

Turner said he doesn’t have the expertise or time to design such a site, let alone monitor it. When Web developer CivicPlus was tapped as a resource for a new site in 2009, it returned a quote of $55,000: too expensive.

But Turner was still searching for a solution. A possible avenue came earlier this year when CivicPlus offered for Turner to nominate Jonesboro for its “Extreme Website Makeover” contest. The winner would receive a free setup of CivicPlus’ premium website package and management for two years. He registered.

Late November, CivicPlus informed Turner that Jonesboro was a finalist in one of the contest’s 11 regions. To win, Turner must score the site’s current functionality against CivicPlus’ criteria, interview with a CivicPlus representative and poll citizens for feedback.

“The more citizens are involved in nominating their community, the better,” the company’s site states. Winners will be announced in January.

Turner said a CivicPlus site will help both him and residents.

“Back-end content management is personally what I’m looking forward to the most,” he said. “Right now, our site is 100 percent managed by me. Then, they can manage, and I can overlook from a higher perspective.”