Collegedale residents in need of assistance now have a faster way to reach out to local officials: the Collegedale app.
After about two years in development, the city rolled out its new mobile app, called "City of Collegedale," Jan. 23.
The free app is currently available on Android through Google Play, and will soon be available on iTunes for iPhone users.
The application bears several similarities to Chattanooga's "CHATT311" app, said Bridgett Raper, communications specialist for the Small Cities Coalition of Hamilton County.
With it, residents can quickly report an issue by hitting the easy-to-find "New Request" button on the home screen. From there, users will be prompted to describe the issue, whether related to potholes, non-functioning street lights, missed garbage service, sewer issues, street sign spam or power outages.
Having a mobile app makes it possible for citizens to take immediate action when they see such concerns, Raper said.
Users can take a photo of the problem they're trying to describe, to aid with city response. Those who send in requests will receive a status report from the city so they know the issue is being addressed.
"It's just going to make it so much easier for the citizens of Collegedale to be able to report things, and give the city an opportunity to react quicker to get things fixed," Raper said. "It's just going to make communication between city hall and the residents so much more seamless."
In the app, users will also find a link to the Parks and Recreation Department's new website, which was also rolled out last week. Through the site, residents can access a calendar of upcoming events, connecting them to several recreational opportunities throughout the area.
"That's exciting, because prior to now, we haven't had a big platform for getting it out," said Traci Bennett-Hobek, the city's director of Parks and Recreation.
The site also has several other helpful features, Bennett-Hobek said. In the "Sports & Outdoors" tab, for example, citizens and visitors can pull up maps of outdoor hotspots, such as the Wolftever Creek Greenway or the bike trails at Enterprise South Nature Park.
"Hopefully we've incorporated enough of the outdoor elements in the Collegedale area that people can just go to our website if they want to know anything about the Collegedale area," said Bennett-Hobek.
Among the Collegedale app's many other uses is a link to The Commons' website, a portal with city officials' contact information, a list of city services, and a notification system that pushes out weather and emergency alerts — which users will need to create a username and password within the app to receive.
Raper said she expects that as time goes on, developers will add more to the app.
"I do believe it is something that can grow as we see what it is that the residents of Collegedale want on the app," she said. "[City officials] are very open to hearing any comments about it, any suggestions or questions — we would love to see what the citizens are thinking about it."
Email Myron Madden at email@example.com.