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Get to know city, your neighborhood

Post Independent/Kelley Cox A new public access computer kiosk is available at the Glenwood Springs City Hall on 8th Street. Mike Pelletier demonstrates as a survey consultant, Frank McKenzie, watches over his shoulder.
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Detailed aerial pictures of the city, thousands of documents and high-speed Internet are now all at the public’s fingertips at City Hall.A new computer kiosk, located in the city’s Community Development Department on the second floor of City Hall, is available to the public free of charge. City planner Mike Pelletier said the high-resolution aerial photographs of the city, along with a few easy-to-use features, make it easy to view the city’s neighborhoods, measure lots or structures and get a general idea of how the city is laid out. “It helps you learn about your neighborhood by having a bird’s-eye view,” he said.

The pictures are so sharp, as Pelletier zoomed in from the entire city down to the Hot Springs Pool, there were images of people swimming. But the mapping system isn’t only pictures. Users of the computer can zoom into a particular property and find out its owner, assessed value and other information. “You can find out who your neighbors are,” Pelletier said. “You can tell if houses are owner-occupied or rentals in a neighborhood.”Although that might sound like personal information, Pelletier didn’t include anything in the mapping program that wasn’t already publicly available at the Garfield County Assessor’s Office.”This is a visual interpretation of properties that are usually explained verbally,” city information technology director Bruce Munroe said. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” Pelletier added. “It gives a visual representation of town.”

Another useful feature of the computer is the vast – and ever-growing – collection of city documents available on the computer. “It has permanent documents for the city,” Munroe said. “It has a lot of information that’s not on the Web site.”He estimated that 40,000 city documents are available on the computer. Contracts, building plans, agreements and ordinances are just a few of the documents that can be found on the computer.”The city has an enormous number of records. They’re scanning them as quickly as they can,” Munroe said. Once the documents are scanned, they’re indexed so key words can be used to narrow a search. Another feature on the computer is the availability of the Glenwood Springs City Code. There’s an icon to get directly to the code, but it’s accessed via the Internet.



And for someone who needs to do a quick Internet search while at City Hall, the computer is connected into the city’s lightning-fast broadband system. It now compliments the four computers available for free public use at the community center. Munroe and Pelletier said the computer will not only be helpful to the general public, but it should also reduce the staff time used in helping people get the documents and other information they need. “We’re trying to balance usefulness with complexity,” Munroe said. “As users request things, we’ll add them.”Contact Greg Massé: 945-8515, ext. 511gmasse@postindependent.com


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