At the Town Council meeting on Tuesday, October 15, Town Manager Austin Faison shared a number of updates impacting Winthrop and its citizens. These included an update on the search for a dog park, the introduction of a smart platform for reporting issues, and an upgrade to the Town website.
-Dog Park Search
The Town realized a title search for the proposed dog park site on Kennedy Drive. While the search was inconclusive, it appears that there are no restrictions to developing the site. However, regulations for building on the site would be considerable, given that it has been deemed an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.
An initial proposal estimated that the cost for environmental compliance surveys, design and permitting would be over $128,000, not including construction. The Town is currently in conversations about finding another potential site.
“We are fully engaged in these discussions and are confident that an acceptable alternative site can be found,” said Faison.
A grant identified by the community stipulated that the Town will need to contribute a minimum of 10 percent of the construction costs (in cash, not labor), but the Town continues to search for internal sources of funding.
Residents who have ever spotted a pothole but weren’t sure who to report it to will be happy to know that the town is adopting a new online platform for addressing local issues.
The Town Manager’s Office and the Department of Public Works are working to implement a work order management system called SeeClickFix, which would allow constituents to easily submit reports on infrastructure concerns.
Residents will be able to access SeeClickFix on their computers or smartphones and directly report on things that need attention where they live and work, such as road and sidewalk cracks, scattered leaves or unpainted crosswalks. There is also a telephone option for those less tech savvy. Town officials then manage the assignment of issues and communicate back to the citizen on any progress made.
Graduate students from Northeastern University are assisting with the implementation of SeeClickFix in Winthrop.
The town of Winthrop is getting an upgrade to its online presence. Its new and improved website was designed by CivicPlus, an integrated technology platform for local governments. This comes after the town announced it will also move to a more streamlined process of managing all meeting minutes with an online platform. The Town Manager has said previously that Winthrop is “a few years behind” when it comes to modernizing and professionalizing its online image, something he is trying to change.
“We moved money to accommodate the refresh,” he told the Transcript. “My office wants to continue to improve the user experience to pursue full transparency with the community.”
The updated version of the town website can be viewed at town.winthrop.ma.us.