Engage Rexburg, a program launched on Oct. 17, was created to provide residents with a central online hub where the community can learn more about ongoing city projects and initiatives while also providing a space to share ideas and discuss different topics relating to city business with other community members.
“It’s a place where citizens can go to be heard,” said Sarah Kennett-Cromwell, the Rexburg social media strategist. “The city wants to know what’s important to our citizens.”
Rexburg’s economic development has been working on the project since January.
The menu item “All Projects” provides many topics on which users can submit their feedback. These options include future plans of Rexburg, recreational district projects, the Arts, broadband, transportation plans, and park and trails project plans. There is also a section for sharing general ideas.
“The biggest challenge has been determining which projects to include on the portal,” said Kennett-Cromwell. “We wanted projects that held some weight, were pertinent to our residents and offered opportunities to share input with us.”
The platform also provides opportunities for city planners. They can now work in phases to help create a future for the city informed by the people who live there. Each project on the site has a “Phases” bar that allows users to see where the project currently stands, what came before and what is still to come.
“We welcome feedback and the opportunity to inform and be informed on matters of community importance,” said City Council Member Robert Chambers. “We want this to be a successful means for citizen engagement.”
The city partnered with Citizenlab, a software company that creates engagement websites for local governments.
“We definitely have plans to grow this site,” said Kennett-Cromwell. “This should be a website residents bookmark and visit often.”
Both Chambers and Kennett-Cromwell urge all Rexburg residents to create accounts and engage with the local government. Residents can contact Sarah Kennett-Cromwell at firstname.lastname@example.org with further questions.