Green Park will get new city website

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Green Park City Hall.

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

The city of Green Park will be getting a new website this year, as well as moving to a cloud-based server for city documents. 

At the January Board of Aldermen meeting, City Administrator James Mello told aldermen that the city is working with Revize, a website development company for governments and other municipalities, to revamp its website, cityofgreenpark.com. 

Revize will provide hosting, backup and 24/7 support for the website, which will be on a cloud-based server. Since the cost of the new website is minimal, there will be no bid process. 

At the January meeting, Dylan Johnston, an account manager with Revize, provided aldermen with a demonstration of how the new website will work. City staff will be able to edit the website as needed on the go, instead of having to make a request or go through a third party. 

“It certainly will be an improvement over ours now,” said Mayor Tim Thuston during the demonstration. 

“Especially in terms of 24/7 support. That’s not something we have right now, we have a very barebones contract,” added Mello. “It’s difficult sometimes if we are unable to get things to work, to get something resolved even in a few days.” 

The website will feature a document center where meeting agendas, meeting minutes, city ordinances and other documents can be posted and accessed by the public. 

“I think it looks like a good deal,” said former Ward 1 Alderman Esad Softic, who works as a software engineer. 

 In addition to a new website and host, the city will also transition to a cloud-based server with Square9, a document management software company. 

“This is something that’s kind of been a long time coming and now more than ever, for the adaptation that we’ve had to make for COVID-19, it’s become more and more imperative that we do make a switch,” said Mello. “The city does not employ any centralized server system … but as we keep making more files and try to transition forward into a more electronic-based filing system and those sort of things, it’s becoming more critical that we actually have a centralized server that we can operate off of.” 

City staff had explored the possibility of getting a physical server at City Hall, but determined that a cloud-based server was the best option. 

“It sounds a little bit more fancy and high-tech, but to build a server infrastructure from the ground up and then have to make periodic updates and maintenance and things like that every few years, the cost is basically the same between the two options,” Mello said. “The cloud-based solution … only eliminates the need for us to still have online backups in case there happens to be a fire or tornado or something that destroys City Hall.”

A cloud-based server is also cheaper than a physical server. The cost is $500 upfront with an annual cost of $1,600. A physical server would have higher upfront costs, between $4,000 and $7,000, and require periodic upgrades. 

Mello added that he planned to have a physical backup stored at City Hall in the event that the company goes under, so the city never loses access to its files. 

“We’ll keep a hard copy backup on an external hard drive here at City Hall as well, so that will be the redundancy that we need,” said Mello.

The server will be hosted and supported through Americom, a local IT and print services company that will use Square9’s services.  

“I do agree with the cloud solution. I do think it’s a lot better way to do it and a lot cheaper,” said Softic. “You don’t have to deal with all the maintenance and everything.” 

At an aldermanic meeting in April, Mello said that the city had signed a contract with Revize and was in the process of selecting the formatting, color style and design of the website. Once that is complete, the site will be presented in the upcoming months for review by the board.