Need to know when to put out your recycling? Or what’s on the docket for next week’s planning board meeting? In Fuquay-Varina, at least, there’s now an app for that.
The town’s new app, which functions primarily as a standalone, mobile-friendly version of the town’s website, debuted about a month ago. It was developed by CivicPlus as part of a $34,800 contract to refresh Fuquay-Varina’s website, which now works similarly to the new app when accessed from a mobile web browser.
Mobile users can download the app on either Apple’s App Store, for iPhone and iPad, or at the Google Play store, for Android devices.
Fuquay-Varina joins neighbor Holly Springs as one of just Wake County municipal governments to have their own mobile apps. Cary and Raleigh have apps to help visitors navigate parks and trails, but not one for the rest of their governments.
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Susan Weis, Fuquay-Varina’s communications director, oversaw the website redesign and the app development. Since the app’s Nov. 4 launch, she said, about 300 people have downloaded it to their devices.
“The app doesn’t have absolutely everything on the website,” Weis said. “But for someone who regularly goes to the town for the information, it’s a great thing to have at your fingertips.”
The app’s users can choose to receive alerts from the town and access information about the town’s departments, events and services.
Weis credited Town Manager Adam Mitchell for the town’s recent emphasis on communications technology, as well as Police Chief Laura Fahnestock for her effective social media strategy. Fahnestock personally oversees the Fuquay-Varina Police Department’s Facebook page, which broadcasts public safety information and department news to its more than 7,500 followers, often with a humorous twist.
The town’s Facebook account, meanwhile, enjoys an audience of more than 10,000. Fuquay-Varina’s population is about 24,000.
“Our email newsletters are also incredibly well-read,” Weis said. “We have a 35, 40 percent open rate, which is high. One thing you can say about Fuquay-Varina is that we have a very involved community. Our residents have bought into this town.”
Weis said she and the town’s information technology staff hope to eventually make recordings of Town Board meetings available online. Plans are also in motion to start providing town-produced video content to explain, for instance, what to recycle and when.
With a high number of new residents, comes the need to capture the attention of those who might not know how things are done in Fuquay-Varina, and that information has to be packaged to appeal to a variety of preferences.
“The app is just one of many options, and we understand that people consume information in different ways,” Weis said.
Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan
Search for the town’s name on Apple’s App Store or at the Google Play store, for Android devices. The download is free.