BRECKENRIDGE - With a new website they say reflects the "personality" of Summit County now up and running, the county government is setting its sights on expanding Internet access to popular public buildings.
Officials are working to equip both the Old County Courthouse and the Community and Senior Center with wireless internet access for the public later this year, officials said.
The new county website went live last week, offering new features including a retooled home page, a photo gallery, enhanced search options and interactive online forums for different departments, according to a statement from the county.
"The website is our central hub of communications," assistant county manager Scott Vargo stated in the release. "The new design allows us to present timely information in a smart and efficient way, whether that information is department-based or service-based."
CivicPlus, an independent contractor that has designed 860 local government websites across the continent, designed the new website.
The URL address, www.co.summit.co.us, has not changed.
Designed to be user friendly for residents and welcoming for visitors, the redesigned website is targeted at improving emergency communication, as well.
"Our website also plays an important role in emergency and disaster planning," Vargo said. "SC Alert, news features and Facebook and Twitter feeds allow us to provide critical information to residents instantly. The new site is a powerful tool for keeping our citizens engaged and informed in good times and bad."
A "Notify Me" option on the home page directs visitors to a subscription page where they can sign up to receive alerts regarding events, bids, public meetings and other activities from various departments. Front page links also take users to pages where they can view or sign up to receive emergency alerts and report
Another new feature allows users to create personal accounts to quickly access relevant information.
Now officials are working to allow the public to access the new website and the Internet in frequently used public buildings.
Though cost and security concerns have delayed the process, county officials say they're now on track to make wireless Internet available to the public in both the Community and Senior Center in Frisco and the Old County Courthouse in Breckenridge within the next few months.
"We're looking at some cost information before we pull the trigger," Vargo said. "We have some limited connectivity in both buildings already, but the point would be to open those up more broadly."
Officials will present options and cost information to the board of county commissioners for a decision in the next few weeks.
Security concerns will be mitigated by setting up a system for public use that is completely separate from the county's network.
"That's part of the delay that might exist," Vargo said. "We'll have to have Comcast or somebody come in and run a different line, but that will eliminate any concern about people getting into sensitive county information with a malicious intent."
Public wireless Internet is already available in all three branches of the Summit County Libraries through an outside provider.