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Web network connects residents to City Hall

The city of Hendersonville is rolling out a web-based program aimed at encouraging residents to engage, communicate and collaborate with local decision makers and other residents on the future of the community.

The goal is to get the community involved in the planning process. The program, called Engage Hendersonville, uses a website developed by MindMixer. Engage Hendersonville will be used as an online tool to generate new ideas and feedback from citizens using this interactive and accessible new platform. Feedback from the engagement website will be used by city leaders and City Council members in order to lay out plans on a variety of projects and ideas, the city said in a news release.
"We are excited about the opportunity to be able to reach more people and receive feedback from people who are unable to attend City Council meetings," said City Manager John Connet.
Engage Hendersonville gives contributors a chance to share new ideas, second others' ideas, expand upon existing ideas and give feedback on initiatives. This allows everyone to work with community leaders on a variety of topics online anytime, anywhere.
The site also measures and tracks participation, identifying the most interested citizens and most compelling topics. MindMixer's tools make it easy for administrations to communicate back with citizens, and they deliver measurable results and invaluable insights for the planning process.
As part of its service, MindMixer consults and collaborates with clients to identify issues that are critical to stakeholders in order to update topics and content for their websites.
The second option the is rolling out if Blackboard Connect, which will provide faster, more targeted information to residents and businesses. The service allows enhanced communications options to residents and enable community leaders to reach their audiences more quickly and effectively, helping to keep them safer and better informed.
The city already used the notification platform, Blackboard Connect. It is holding a communitywide effort to encourage residents to verify and register their contact information in the system's secure Connect Access Portal, where they can also manage their message settings, including their preferred language, mode of contact and specific message topics they wish to receive.
The City of Hendersonville will use Blackboard Connect to notify residents of urgent and routine communications, such as health and safety warnings, utility and pet registration reminders, and notices of special events.

"Blackboard Connect allows us to stay connected by quickly distributing timely, relevant messages to our community," said Tara Tinsley Ledbetter, public information officer of Hendersonville. "Now that residents have the power to customize their message settings, we can make sure they receive the messages that matter most to them. Plus, with the system's instant reporting we can better track who received a message, and strategically plan for follow-up communications."

Residents can subscribe to a variety of Portal Groups. Publicly available primary residential and business phones in Hendersonville are already included in the system. However, residents are encouraged to explore the new Connect Access Portal and make sure the city has the most up-to-date contact information by and clicking on the link that says "SIGN UP NOW – SERVICES BY BLACKBOARD CONNECT." Users may manage their message preferences by indicating their preferred mode of contact, language and message topics. Those without Internet access, or who need assistance, are encouraged to call (828) 697-3000. Residents with call blocking services should add (828) 697-3000 to their approved number list to ensure they receive important notifications from the city.

Blackboard Connect Inc. does not sell, lease, share or rent personally identifiable information (names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.) to any companies or persons outside of Blackboard or its service providers, the city said.