This website is made possible in part by a grant from the Herman H. Rose Civic, Cultural and Media Access Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation, a charitable community trust serving the people of Rhode Island. When we began evaluating our options for upgrading our website, it became apparent that the cost was prohibitive. Luckily, the Rhode Island Foundation had a grant opportunity to help provide some of the needed funds.
There are several important reasons why we needed to upgrade our website. First, under an Environmental Protection Agency Technical Assistance Grant, we are required to update the public about Peterson/Puritan Superfund site as information becomes available. We knew that the most efficient way to satisfy this requirement was through our website.
We also need a venue to safely maintain documents, including historical documents, such as those related to the Superfund site. In addition, if necessary, we want to limit document access to only specific individuals (members, directors or advisors). There are occasions when information is under review and is not yet publishable until the data has been evaluated. The upgraded website gives us the control we need. Also, the information is available in one location. We especially like the ease of search and retrieval so people can easily find the information they need. Our website supports various file formats including PDF, txt, doc, jpg, plus google maps, PowerPoints, photos, videos, etc. and allows us to create internal links to pages on our website and external links to other websites providing a comprehensive information retrieval mechanism. Prior to the upgrade, disseminating information to people via our website was either not possible or extremely difficult and time consuming.
Future plans include creating an archive process to preserve certain information while still providing needed access. We also would like to use our website to store director-only information such as financial data, minutes of meetings or by-laws. We had originally thought we would use a third-party software for document sharing (i.e., Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive) but determined after in-depth research, that the ongoing yearly costs and administration were prohibitive. As we became more educated about what a state-of-the-art website could do, we realized we could satisfy these needs as well making a third-party document software solution unnecessary. “It’s going to be an extremely useful tool to help us promote and share information externally as well as internally,” said Past President, Frank Matta.
This website is still a work in progress even after many months. As a organization, we are thankful to our self-appointed ‘webmaster’, Suzanne Matta. She undertook this project to support our organization and help move us forward so we can continue to be an integral part of our community and continue our work to preserve and protect the Blackstone River and its watershed.