News that the village of Brookfield is going to roll out a new website is certainly welcome. The present website, developed about seven or eight years ago, has far outlived its useful life. Come to think of it, it hasn’t been particularly useful since the start.
The biggest upgrade over Brookfield website 1.0 back in the early 2000s — which was dawn of technology stuff — was that you could grab a copy of the village board’s meeting packet and that the old ones remained archived there.
Apart from that, finding information has been tough to do. Village board and commission meeting minutes aren’t easily available. Some commissions, like the Beautification Commission, have lots of information for residents. Others have none at all. An economic development portal created in 2013 has received little attention since it was launched.
That’s all supposed to change with the rollout of the new website later this month. The site will be mobile-friendly, fully indexed and fully searchable. Village staff will serve as liaisons to advisory commissions and will be able to upload new information on an ongoing basis.
It will be easier to pay bills online and register for recreation programs online. And there will be a new, more robust event calendar which will feature not only village-sponsored events but — at least unless it’s abused somehow — events organized by other community groups.
While it’s not launching with the rest of the site, Village Manager Keith Sbiral says that an economic development portal will be rolled out perhaps later this summer. We’ll be keeping an eye out for that, since that portal was touted as a major part of a new website, which it was first announced almost a year ago.
What will make the new website really useful to residents, of course, is if the village takes pains to keep it current and make sure as much information is available to residents in a way that’s easy to find.
You can have the nicest-looking website in the world, but it’s only as good as its content. The present website isn’t very good. We have great hopes for the new site moving forward.