I wanted to offer some background on this “new” Kentlands website your reading, as it appears that there may be homeowners who are unaware that we have a new website. (Obviously, if you’re reading this online, you’re not one of them; congratulations!) The new website went live last fall and there has been information in the Town Crier newspaper (the Print Edition, as we now call it) as well as mentions in the bi-weekly e-mail blast, the Express.
More background: the Communications Committee began working on a new website two years ago, around the time that I became the General Manager. The old website, www.kentlandsusa.com, was hosted by AtHomeNet and was very limited in its functionality, graphics, etc. The committee made a recommendation to the KCA Board to build the new website using WordPress software, which gave us much more flexibility in adding new features and functions, yet at a lower annual cost than our existing website hosted by AtHomeNet. The prototype was built on a new web address, kentlandstowncrier.com, but hopefully by the time you read this, both the old kentlandsusa.com address and the new one should point to the same new website with all its new bells and whistles.
You can tell from this new website that it was built to deliver news and information in a much more timely and engaging fashion. And the Committee recommended that Board keep the name Kentlands Town Crier for both the online edition and the monthly printed newspaper that we’re now calling the Town Crier Print Edition (just as both the digital and print editions of the Washington Post have the same name). As the official publication of the Kentlands Board of Trustees, the Kentlands Town Crier delivers all the information published in the Print Edition and much more, plus it delivers it when it becomes available instead of compiling a month’s worth of information in a publication that’s somewhat out of date the day it’s delivered. Don’t worry, however. We will continue to compile the monthly highlights in the TC Print Edition for any and all residents who want to continue to receive a monthly newspaper.
If you have friends and neighbors who have not visited the new website, I’d encourage you to pass the word along. This website is very robust and is constantly being updated. We have a Webmaster, community resident Rob Garretson, who is helping Dana Macena, the Communications Director for the KCA, keep the website current with up to date information.
I’ve been in association management for eighteen years, and I very well remember when mailing letters to homeowners was the only way to communicate. Most larger associations had large postage budgets. In addition to this being a costly method of communication, it was labor intensive, inefficient and not timely. By the time you received a letter about a water main break or an impending storm, the situation was fixed or over. Telephoning a large amount of homeowners was out of the question as well (remember long distance charges?). So, e-mail and websites are the communication vehicles of today. Less costly and more timely. If you haven’t provided the Clubhouse with your e-mail address (or you don’t use e-mail), you are missing out on up-to-the-minute information that might be of importance to you like Clubhouse closings and services that are delayed or canceled due to weather, such as trash pickup.
The website is accessible 24/7. If you have a question about trash or recycling days, you don’t have to wait for the Clubhouse to open, just visit the website. (The right-hand column on the Home page contains lots of easy-access information.) Need to order a resale package because you’re listing your home? Visit the website. The Visual change Application (VCA) and information on what materials have been approved are available on the website as well.
The website is about 80% complete. Crier Articles back to 2007 as well as Board Minutes back to 2005 and all official documents such as the Charter, By-Laws, Resolutions, etc. have been uploaded. We were unable to move the homeowner directory from the previous site and that is a work in progress with the Communications Committee, Webmaster and Communications Director. You can register for a user account on the website and let us know if you’d like to be included in the new Directory, which we hope to make live in the next few months. The Kentlands Historical Trust (KHT) is beginning to work on an interactive VCA that will also be accessible from the website. So, while there is still work to do, the website is very useful and usable in its present state of completion. Check the rest of it out! And as you explore the site further, please send any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.