New Canaan’s highest elected official on Tuesday said the town is close to creating a new appointed body that’s responsible for promoting local tourism and economic development.
The Tourism and Economic Development Commission could include 10 to 12 people, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan.
“Other towns have this kind of effort,” Moynihan told NewCanaanite.com during an interview moments after a Board of Selectmen meeting at Town Hall. “Ridgefield has an Economic Commission, and also in talking to the Glass House and others, we really need more of a tourism effort.”
The future commission first was mentioned during the selectmen meeting, as the Board voted 3-0 in favor of a $12,347 contract with a company—Revize Software, which describes itself as a government website specialist—to redesign and host the municipal website.
Christopher Kaiser, the town’s IT director, said during the meeting that Revize had been chosen from among four or five vendors with “extensive municipal website design” experience and that the company seemed like a good fit. He added that it’s been a pleasure and a help to work with the recently appointed Technology Advisory Committee as well as consulting with the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce.
Randy Dalia, chairman of the Technology Advisory Committee, said a newly designed municipal website is a “technical tool.”
“We still need better marketing, economic development, public relations,” Dalia said, voicing an assertion that the Committee has made before. “And while I think this will be a great foundation for that, we really should continue to think about that other part of the equation.”
Selectman Nick Williams agreed, saying, “We live in a technological world and the first thing people do is go to the town website when they look at the towns—whether they go to Darien or Westport or here—and so whatever ou can do to make this website ‘pop,’ as they say, is a good thing.”
Selectman Kit Devereaux said the update to the municipal website “is long overdue.”
“I am really excited about it,” she said.
Moynihan noted that the town of Greenwich launched a new website this past summer and said “they spent $60,000 on development.”
The Committee has been “analyzing aspects of digital strategy to allow residents to deal with the town on various transactions remotely,” he said, so they can use the website beyond getting information.
He then mentioned the future Tourism and Economic Development Commission and said “I would welcome ideas from people on that.”
“We are beginning to seek members of that Commission,” Moynihan said.
Ridgefield’s Economic & Community Development Commission is a “seven-member commission with the purpose, as stated in our Town Code of Ordinances, to seek to implement orderly and planned economic development, in keeping with the character of the town,” according to Ridgefield’s website. “The Commission will seek to involve all agencies, commissions, boards, and departments in the town which are involved in, or are affected by, economic development, as well as the residents of the town, in its work to promote economic development.”
During one recent meeting, the Ridgefield group discussed a local jazz festival, commercial space vacancies and how the Commission could help local businesses use solar power and save energy costs generally.