The York County Community Network (www.YorkCountyVA.org) was officially launched Monday evening, October 13th. Officiating at the ceremony, which also was the grand opening of the York County Chamber of Commerce offices, was James Burgett, Chairman of the York County Board of Supervisors. Other York County elected officials attending were Sheila Noll and Don Wiggins from the Board of Supervisors, Ann Thomas, Commissioner of the Revenue, Danny Diggs, Sheriff, and Eileen Addison, Commonwealth Attorney. Additionally, James McReynolds, the County Administrator attended.
The York County Community Network is a community service project of the York County Chamber of Commerce. The project goal is to provide a preferred Internet location where all segments of the York County can combine to further progress for the County.
Carl Loveland, York County Chamber of Commerce president, said the community network is worth getting excited about. "For the first time, citizens of York County will be able to one Internet location and find a cross section of the County." Over 4,500 York County businesses are indexed, all civic, religious, youth and other organizations are represented, and the neighborhood associations across the County are included. Links to government and education web sites are also a part of the Community Network. "It's a new concept for communities, but one that leading communities across the county are adopting," said Loveland.
Features of the York County Community Network will allow free web sites for service organizations and neighborhood associations where they can list contact information, post pictures of activities, and communicate with their membership.
"Organizations can use this instead of sending out a newsletter, and there will be no need for a telephone tree," Loveland said.
Along with links to government and County education web sites, the York County Community Network will offer County officials, County offices, County school administrators, as well as teachers web sites to expand their outreach across York County. "We offer this at no cost to York County as part of our community project," noted Loveland.
Central to the York County Community Network will be a business directory listing all York County businesses. "We will include all York County businesses, and even if they're not a chamber member," Loveland said. "The Community Network will offer businesses a chance to have a web site and get priority listing in the directory. If businesses already have their own sites, we can provide a hyperlink to it."
One of the key features of the Community Network is the SEARCH feature, Loveland said. It searches the entire Internet but provides priority to community businesses and organizations. For example, if you search for "artist" millions of links are presented but all the York County artists and art organizations are displayed at the top of the list.
Citizens in York County have been developing the idea for the York County Community Network began for several years, Loveland said.
"The York County Chamber of Commerce is only part of the leadership effort to develop the Community Network," Loveland said. A Board of Trustees has been established with representatives from government, civic organizations, and neighborhoods.
Close coordination with the Office of Economic Development has also been an important part of the development process for the Community Network. York County has a "Keep it in the County" program designed encourage citizens to shop with local businesses. The community network makes this program a reality with features to allow members to rate local businesses.
"And now that it's here," Loveland said, "the York County Community Network will prove truly beneficial to residents." It's an opportunity to citizens of the County to be active in our community, keep informed of local activities, and voice their opinions of current happenings through forums and BLOGS.
"The site belongs to all of us in York County, and it's all about the community, and for it to work, we need participation from everyone in York County," said Loveland. "With everyone in York County tuning in to www.YorkCountyVA.org everyday, the sky is the limit for our community."