Public Works launches website


Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 2:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 2:49 p.m.

Information on many Gainesville public works projects soon will be available in one convenient location online.

The city's Public Works Department launched a website in late August as a way to keep the public informed on large construction projects.

The website, at www.gainesvillepublicworks.org, also contains a feedback section, allowing residents to voice their opinions on projects and request more information.

The idea for the website came about in the beginning weeks of a resurfacing project on NW 8th Avenue, during which a portion of the road was reduced to two lanes so the City Commission could analyze the traffic as a result of fewer lanes, said Public Works Director Teresa Scott. who estimated her department received 200 phone calls in about three weeks regarding the project, as well as a smaller number of emails

Before the new site, information on projects was difficult to locate, Scott said. "Information that we put on the current Gainesville website was buried," she said. "We can put something on our main web page, but to give someone a direct address, it's pretty convoluted."

The new website also allows more comprehensive information about projects, including graphics and videos, Scott said.

"Some information we hadn't posted on the main website." she said. "It was information we wanted to put out, but we wanted to make it more direct and user-friendly."

The website launched with only the 8th Avenue project, but pages for a similar project on 6th Street and a project to improve infrastructure on Main Street were added soon after. Scott said she expects information about projects on Depot Avenue, SW 16th Avenue and the 6th Street Rail Trail will be posted in the coming weeks. The website has received nearly 600 page views since launching, but only one comment, Public Works spokesman Chip Skinner said.

Skinner attributes the lack of comments to people finding the information they seek on the website and therefore not feeling the need to contact the city.

Skinner noted that comments from the website will be compiled into a database, allowing the city to take citizen input into account when making decisions on projects.

"The website is going to continue to grow," he said. "It will be a worthwhile tool once people realize it's there."

Jovahn Huertas is a Gainesville Sun correspondent.

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