PB Park Department looks to expand reach with new website

Friday, November 29, 2019

Poplar Bluff’s Parks and Recreation Department is getting some big technology upgrades, something officials say is needed to make operations run more efficiently.

“When I started, one of the main things we identified as a need was updating the electronic side of things - the phones, the computer system and the website,” said Director Lanny Corcimiglia. “Automation is coming because we’ve got to be more efficient.”

A new telephone system, Corcimiglia said, will be more user friendly to those calling the office.

“The phone is usually answered by Chris (Waite, administrative assistant), but when she’s on the other line, you get a busy signal,” said Corcimiglia. “Now, callers will get a message saying ‘hold on, we’re on the line’ or something like that. Then, it will go into our information on what our hours are, what’s coming up, things like that.”

The Park Department office also is getting an upgrade to its internet service.

“Our new phones will be going through our internet connection,” Corcimiglia said, “so we had to bump up our speed.”

The biggest technology upgrade, Corcimiglia said, will be a completely new website.

Currently, the Park Department has a page on the City of Poplar Bluff’s website, but it is very basic.

“Right now, when you pull up our page ... it’s not that it’s bad, it’s just not very efficient. It’s information only,” Corcimiglia said.

That’s a problem, he said, because in talking with many other park departments from around the region, “they tell me 70% of their stuff is done online.”

A new, specific Park Department website, Corcimiglia said, is “something most other places already have” and will help serve local users better.

“We’re going to have online registration, reservations and payments,” he said of the new website. “We’ve never had that before.

“Our focus will be when you’re sitting up late at night and forgot your kids’ registration, you can do it online and pay online.”

In the future, Corcimiglia said, he also would like to add reservations and payments for the Ozark Ridge Golf Course.

The site, he said, will feature several tabs, including those for league registration and payments, detailed park information, trail maps, a calendar of events, links to the department’s Facebook page, event sponsor links and more.

“It’s going to be nice,” he emphasized.

The new website also will be mobile friendly.

“One of the biggest things we’re seeing from our website creator is that about 80% of people use their phones, so our site will be very compatible,” said Waite.

Besides being more friendly for users, the website backend, Corcimiglia said, will save a lot of time for staff.

“We have a lot of paperwork that will be eliminated,” he said. “Information from the website will be sent to us and be put on a spreadsheet.”

Initially, Waite noted, that information will be entered manually, but in the future “we want to get to where the system enters that information” for them.

The website could go live in the next week or so, Corcimiglia said, “but we’re still going to settle for later. We keep saying ‘as long as we have this by Jan. 1.’”

The department, he said, will do its “due diligence and get it right, and if we don’t get it until Jan. 1, we don’t.”

The Poplar Bluff Parks and Recreation Department’s new website, once up and running, will be found at www.pbparks.org. Until then, staff can best be reached by telephone at 573-686-8645.

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