Articles

Bloomington, Ill., Unveils App to Keep Up with Maintenance

Residents can use the app to report potholes, streets in need of repair, broken sidewalks or malfunctioning street lights.

by Maria Nagle, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill. / October 1, 2015

(TNS) -- After several months of testing, the city of Bloomington, Ill., has launched the myBloomington app.

Since last spring, the city has been in the beta testing phase, meaning the preliminary stages of building functions for the app that will work best for the community, said Communication Manager Nora Dukowitz.

Public works was the first city department to implement the app, which works with smartphones and other electronic devices. As part of the testing, a small group of users were allowed to use the app to report potholes, streets in need of repair, broken sidewalks or malfunctioning street lights.

''It's not surprising that the majority of the concerns on the myBloomington app were potholes and streets," said Public Works Director Jim Karch. “They are very visible problems, but many people really don't think about them unless they are standing or driving by them."

“Public works, in particular, found this to be invaluable because not only do we get the information, we can also get a photo and a location on a map to make sure our crews identify the problem directly,” Karch said.

The app's capabilities are constantly evolving, said Dukowitz.

"Community development requests have just been added and as time goes on we'll add other departments and expand requests for those already added," she explained.

The city has been working with New York City-based developer PublicStuff to provide the app free to residents.The app system costs the city $9,750 a year, which is below the threshold that requires council approval, Dukowitz said,

The free app is available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store or can be accessed on the Web at www.cityblm.org/mybloomington. The app is compatible with Apple, Android and Windows systems.

Residents will be able to make a request using landline telephones, "so there will always be a need to have a person on the other end of the phone answering our citizens' concerns," said Karch. "That hasn't and won't stop anytime soon.”

©2015 The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.