Bexley Technology Committee (BTC) members are working to improve features of the city’s Web site as well as coordinate an inclusive calendar of events to ensure that "you can find something to do in Bexley," committee member Kevin Welker said.
Welker and Mark Bonneville of the BTC identified three problem areas on the city’s Web site at the July 22 Bexley City Council meeting that need corrected: the search engine is not user-friendly; the city is unable to make updates to the site with ease; and the source for the site needs updated.
BTC members agree that Joomla, a highly supported, easily-navigated, content management program used to create and maintain simple and complex Web sites, fits the needs of the city closely. The program also offers free training modules and is "out-of-the-box friendly," Welker said.
The largest expense in moving to a new site is the hosting service, which costs as little as $100 per year, Welker said.
The BTC also plans to create a close-to-all-inclusive calendar for Bexley residents to consult for listings of recreational activities, municipality-related meetings and school events.
The BTC initially contacted the Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce, but according to Welker, the chamber was reluctant to manage the city’s calendar.
"The challenging part here isn’t coming up with calendar software," Welker said. "The challenging part is creating a way to best manage it."
The BTC sought input from city council as to what sorts of events it should and should not include on the calendar and how to organize the events categorically.
Council member Ben Kessler offered that the city color coordinate different events such as city and school sponsored occasions as well as community, recreational and municipal events.
City Attorney Lou Chodosh questioned the legal liabilities of the calendar in deciding what should and should not make the cut and whether residents should be granted access to post community events.
"For example, we do not want the KKK to be able to post that they’re going to rally here. Pornography is probably an even bigger problem," Chodosh said.
Chodosh expressed concern over the notion of setting the bar to allow any non-offensive event.
"What’s offensive to one person is not necessarily offensive to another person," said Chodosh, who recommended looking at other similar community calendars to set standards.
The cities of Gahanna and Painesville, Ohio, both tout inclusive calendars, as does the Village of Lebanon, Welker said.
MBA students tackle Main Street
Graduate students in business administration analyzed the "Bexley brand" to generate four financially feasible projects to rejuvenate Main Street as part of a real estate course.
Ken Gold, director of the Ohio State Fisher College of Business Center for Real Estate Education and Research, teaches a second-year graduate capstone course in real estate.
This year, Gold combined the course to include students from the Ohio State Knowlton School of Architecture.
"For the first time, we were able to emulate what goes on in the real world in terms of development," said Gold, who explained that groups of students took on one site on Main Street to redevelop.
"They had to prove that the project could be financially successful, that these things can work," Gold said.
Projects presented at the council meeting included plans for improved parking, further integration of Capital University into the Bexley area, affordable apartments, and a hotel and restaurants, among other aesthetic amenities.
All projects cover areas zoned multi-use, according to Council President Matt Lampke, meaning the land is already available for such improvements.
"We would eventually like to move out of (the current municipal building)," said Lampke, who added he’d consider the proposals created by Gold’s students, as well as others.
The Main Street Development Committee handles proposals for Main Street improvements.
Two new bikes for Bexley Police
Boy Scout Bryan Wood turned cans into cash to purchase two new bicycles for the police department.
Wood collected the equivalent of $1,300 in aluminum cans and received $300 in donations to cover the $1,600 cost of two bicycles for the City of Bexley Police Department.
Wood hopes to earn the highest ranking in the Boy Scouts of America program, which requires a candidate to demonstrate qualities of leadership, Chief of Police Larry Rinehart said.
The bicycles already have been used to patrol Bexley.
"When we have enough officers, we put the bikes out," Rinehart said.