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Hoboken, N.J., Streamlines Access to Recreational Opportunities

The city of Hoboken recently adopted a new platform that allows its residents to get information, make reservations and interact with the city around a variety of recreational offerings.

Hoboken Park
The city of Hoboken, N.J., has launched a new platform to help connect residents to the recreational opportunities it offers.

The decision to launch the RecDesk platform came from a desire to provide constituents with a space to get information about what’s happening in the city in a timely fashion, Jessica Lezcano, the city’s head of the Division of Recreation, explained.

The tool is specifically designed around the needs of recreation organizations, and has been adopted by other municipalities. For Hoboken, it allows residents to register for recreation programs, submit online payments or submit event requests to reserve public spaces more easily. Parents can also enable the “Head of Household” feature to add other family members to the account as needed.

Screenshot of Hoboken, NJ's RecDesk platform.
In addition, recreation program information is easy to find, so users can see upcoming events and community meetings in one location.

“As our community starts to grow, one of the most important things is that we try to get information to people as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Lezcano said, underlining the importance of communicating schedule changes, weather delays and other information to the public.

Prior to the adoption of this platform, Hoboken residents relied on communications through the city’s website, social media platforms or word of mouth, Lezcano said, adding that these methods will still be available to complement the new platform.

Because the city has required documents that must be completed to reserve a public space, RecDesk makes the reservation process fair and efficient. Reservations can be made through the platform, but are reviewed by the appropriate department heads for approval.

In the case of individuals who cannot access the platform due to a lack of an Internet-enabled device or the skills, residents can come in person and use the platform with the assistance of a city employee.

The platform also opens the lines for communication between city employees working within different departments, Lezcano stated.

While the recreation department are the programmers, environmental services also have a role in ensuring a space is safe and accessible to use, and public safety has a role in protecting the public during large events.

“Now, everything that’s going on is on one calendar, and it’s a more efficient way for us to be able to work and communicate with one another,” she said.

The platform will continually be updated as more programming becomes available. Citizen feedback will help to inform future improvements.
Julia Edinger is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Toledo and has since worked in publishing and media. She's currently located in Southern California.