Laura Dean Bennett
The Town of Marlinton has a brand new showcase – its new website is up and running, and it looks to be something quite useful for local residents and visitors who will find it helpful and hospitable.
It’s beautiful – with lots of great color photography – and its informative. It includes everything from the history of the area to details about how Marlinton town government works.
It took a vision and a lot of hard work by a dedicated team.
“When I came on the city council in July 2019, I knew I was interested in the town having an interactive website,” councilmember Gail Hyer said.
“That August, Mayor Sam Felton appointed three of us – Sarah Irvine, Anne Mitchell and me – to work on it.”
“This website is something that residents of Marlinton have been asking about for many years,” Irvine said. “Gail made sure to make it her mission as a new councilmember to get the project moving.
“She recruited Anne and me because we are residents of Marlinton.
“And, Anne, as a local business owner could bring that point of view to the process.
“We’d all had experience in marketing something, whether it was a local business, our own business, or an industry in the county, so we understood the value a website can bring,” Irvine added.
“It’s such a pleasure to work with Sarah and Anne,” Hyer said.
“They are both so knowledgeable about website design.
“Sarah was involved in the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website and Anne had experience in creating the website for her business, Knapps Creek Lodge.
“I had an idea of what I wanted, but their experience enhanced and broadened the whole concept.
“We focused on what the community would be looking for on a website: what does the community need? What will best represent our community?
“There were so many moving parts to the site that we envisioned, we needed a company that could handle all of that.
“Cucumber & Company, the Beckley site design company the council chose has done a great job.
“It’s a really user friendly site, with four tabs – Residents, Business, Government and Discover.
“And there are all kinds of links of interest for residents and visitors: healthcare links, eating, shopping, places to stay, transit schedules, Parks and Rec, Family Resource Network and Humane Society, to name a few.”
Town business will be well covered on the website.
Visitors to the site can read the weekly Mayor’s Corner article, check out the directory, the calendar of events and read the minutes of the Town Council meetings.
Paying town water and sewer bills electronically will soon be an option on the website.
“Bill Pay will be available soon and when it is, it will be as simple as going to the website, clicking on the bill pay button and then entering your payment information,” Irvine said.
“We’ve really been needing this website,” town financial director Star Barlow said.
“I can’t wait to get the electronic payments feature working.
“It will be so convenient for our residents and make things easier around here, too.”
Citizens who want to comment on what’s going on in town, or who have situations in their neighborhoods that they’d like resolved, can submit a “Citizens Comment Form” on the website.
It will be directed to the appropriate town staff person for action.
“This project was a labor of love for all of us,” Irvine said.
“For me, personally, I was interested in being involved because I have been building, creating content, and managing websites and social media accounts for a few years now, but had yet to work on a website from start to finish as we have done with this one.
“It was a very detailed process that took us a little less than a year to complete,” she added.
Hyer, Mitchell and Irvine will be keeping tabs on the site as time goes on.
“A lot of people think that once a website is up and running, it’s a done deal,” Hyer said.
“But it’s really a living thing. There will always be something to keep up with.”
And what’s the reaction to the website been so far?
“Well, so far, the mayor and the town council seem to be very pleased,” Hyer said with a smile.
“And we want the town residents and everyone in the county to be pleased, too.
“We’ll be looking for those Citizens Comment Forms to come in and, hopefully citizens who visit the website will let us know that the website is working well for them.
“The pictures will be changed seasonally and, of course, we’ll make sure that the information and the governmental aspects are kept current.”
Thanks to Google Analytics, the team will also be able to keep track of how much the site is being used.
“By the end of the year, we’ll have really good data to tell us how well the site is working,” Hyer said.
Mayor Felton is very pleased with the project.
“From the initial idea for a website, I saw it as a tool that could provide a source of communication and efficiency for all involved,” he said.
“The community could use the service to stay in touch with their town office.
“The Town could easily provide Public Service Announcements, forms, copies of ordinances, and a host of other services.
“From the first sit-down with the committee, it was agreed that we’d leave out the hype.
“The mission was to be simple and inviting. The thought was, if simplicity and functionality were the goal, the site would continue to be used more and more, making it an asset for the present and into the future.
“The committee has more than achieved their goal.
“The Marlinton website was an investment in our future, serving the community, introducing business and recreational opportunities, and guiding visitors to Marlinton and Pocahontas County.”
Want to see for yourself?