City launches new mobile app

An application Officials with the city of Pea Ridge are excited to launch Pea Ridge Connect, a new mobile citizen engagement application powered by GOGov.

This "app" puts the power of city hall in the palm in your hand, according to Mayor Nathan See.

"It's a new way of putting information, and being able to provide on-the-spot notifications such as community events, closures, in the hands of the city residents," he said.

An "app" is the abbreviated form of the word application, which is a software program designed to perform a specific function directly for the user or, in some cases, for another application program. It is often downloaded to cellular phones.

See said he first learned about city apps after the Joplin tornado and how that city used it to community to city residents. He said the time was not right then for Pea Ridge, but believes it is now.

"Not everybody gets social media. Not everybody gets the newspaper. This is just one more means of communicating to the city residents," See said.

In the event of a disaster, city officials will be able to immediately notify city residents about issues.

City residents will also be able to communicate with the appropriate city official.

See said that whereas anyone can download the app and set up a profile, only persons within the city limits (the "geofence") will be allowed to post requests and issues.

"It will help with us being able to know things," he said, explaining that city employees can not be everywhere all the time and they are grateful for notifications from city residents.

"If someone sees a crack in a sidewalk, or water running across the road, a street light out, they can take a picture and send it to us," he said, adding that the location via GPS will be included in the photograph. "I think it's just going to open up a very big opportunity for us -- the residents and the city."

"I see this as being a necessity to our residents," See said.

The app does not replace BC Alert, a notification system by the county, nor calling 911 for emergencies.

"We're going to utilize it to the maximum potential," he said. "I will be able to see the analytics of how it's being used."

The city departments had a training session and each department will respond to its own notifications.

The mayor said notifications will go to specific department heads and he will see all of the notices and be able to see when responses are generated, providing accountability. He said contact information will also be provided on the app for city officials.

The app is a great source of information for city news, events, service interruptions updates and important links to the city website. And city staff can streamline important community communications and information to citizens in more efficient ways.

To download the free app, go to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and search "Pea Ridge Connect" to find the app.