East Newark overhauls website with user-friendly redesign

East Newark’s new website has been redesigned to make it much easier for officials to communicate with East Newark residents about everything from the COVID-19 pandemic information to emergency weather announcements.

The website, viewable across all computers, laptops and smartphones, also serves as a one-stop storehouse of information about many of the newer programs and initiatives taking place at Borough Hall and throughout town.

“We wanted a clear way of communicating the borough’s services, showcasing all that is available to our residents,” Mayor Dina M. Grilo said. “Our old website was very outdated. It wasn’t clear what programs were available to our seniors; our calendar of meetings and agendas were often unclear. This new website is very user friendly and it has a clean look with all the information that our residents should be able to access.”

The site was overhauled by AlphaDog Solutions, of Belleville, a company owned and operated by Belleville Mayor Michael Melham, which specializes in creating websites for governmental entities and counts 19 municipalities, two county offices, the State PBA and a host of other organizations among its clients.

The new site is filled with information. It includes brief biographies of Grilo and the members of the Borough Council, a calendar of events, an easy-to-use tab to contact the borough’s various departments and a gallery where photos of borough events are highlighted. The new website also has a tab listing licensing, building and various other municipal codes.

The site has even been created with accessibility in mind, as the site is compatible with screen readers used by blind and visually impaired individuals.

In the immediate future, the most important tab on the new site might be the one for COVID-19 information. In fact, the first wave of COVID-19 cases in March 2020 illustrated to borough officials that creating a new website was imperative in this ongoing state of emergency.

“It was really important during that time, when state-imposed safety regulations forced many stores and business to close, that we had a strong and immediate way of communicating with our residents,” Grilo said. “For example, we needed a way to get the message out about the food pantry we had established for the food insecure.

“And we needed a way to get the message out about our new program to help seniors who couldn’t get out of the house; we would bring the food right to their doorstep. COVID-19 showed us that we needed a much better website to communicate with our residents.”

It’s part of an initiative Grilo says she is hoping to breathe into the town she lovingly calls “small but mighty.” The first woman to serve as the borough’s mayor – who succeeded Mayor Joe Smith, who served 32 years – recognized that it is cost-effective to have a website that contains large amounts of pertinent information for citizens.

Visitors to the website may easily locate, say, details about sewer fees, thus freeing borough workers to go about their daily duties.

In time, Grilo said, residents will be able to pay the municipal taxes and make other payments through the website.

“The website was a much-needed investment to the borough’s information infrastructure,” Grilo said. “AlphaDog did a great job fulfilling our vision: creating a clean, concise, accessible website that East Newark residents need.”

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.