One of the oldest townships in Pennsylvania, Radnor Township was founded in 1681 when Welsh Quakers asked William Penn for a tract of land where they could conduct business in their native language.
This founding principle of communication combined with community continues in Radnor, home to several noteworthy academic institutions and headquarters of nationally recognized financial institutions, with a goal that Township Manager William M. White sets as “improving or making the lives of our stakeholders as positive as possible.”
“We do that by providing a multitude of municipal services through our various departments, by a staff that is genuinely caring in terms of delivering those services,” he said of the township’s target. “But being a municipality, we are extremely limited in our resources. So, we don’t have the luxury of hiring staff to address service gaps or problems as they arise. We have to be creative in how we address certain problems. And technology is a fantastic tool to fill some of those gaps.”
One area where White sought to fill those gaps was in public communications.
“A gap existed in terms of telling the residents not just what we’re doing, but where the problems are,” he said. “Little tidbits of construction information to avoid this street today or that street tomorrow, as well as the important stuff such as changing service dates because of a holiday, or a hurricane coming through.”
While White saw an opportunity to provide better real-time critical information for Radnor’s residents, his Executive Assistant, Peggy Hagan, saw a need to create efficiencies in public meeting information for many of the same reasons.
“We like to make sure that the public is engaged, that they’re aware of the issues,” she said. “And it helps to develop a sense of community to have public meetings where they can attend and participate or at least have access to what was discussed.”
Hagan found herself working with a variety of other departments and dealing multiple agendas, all formatted differently from each other, that prevented a convenient way of making information available to residents.
A possible solution to both concerns was taking shape with Radnor’s Public Information Officer Molly Gallagher, who found herself looking to find a way to reinvigorate a website that she said had been “mainly used as a community bulletin board.”
“Very basic needs were being met by our former website, and it was certainly time for a change,” she said. “The goal was to provide a consolidated, fully integrated, customizable all-in-one branded solution to our citizens. In other words, a more user-friendly experience for our visitors.”
The wish list that Gallagher and the Radnor team put together would create a digital experience that added government transparency in communications while allowing for live streaming, video indexing, document access, and efficient minute creation.