New town website in Warwick’s future

  • Warwick webmaster Ed Lemon, pictured at his computer, started the town website in 2007. The website is now transitioning to a WordPress platform. Contributed photo

News Editor
Published: 12/20/2021 3:07:19 PM
Modified: 12/20/2021 3:07:04 PM

WARWICK — For 14 years, Ed Lemon has been pulling the strings behind the town website, ensuring meeting agendas and minutes were posted and updating pages for the various town boards. He even taught himself to code to make the website possible.

But now, at 81 years old, the retired teacher is looking to shed his role as the town’s webmaster.

“I just haven’t got the energy or the ability,” said Lemon, noting increasing trouble with his eyesight. “I was very happy to have worked for the town for the past 14 years, but also it’s time for me to go.”

With that change comes a new website that will be operated using WordPress, a content management system, or CMS, that allows multiple contributors to create, edit and publish to the web, as compared to all posts being funneled through Lemon as has been tradition. The plan, he said, is for Kelly Buchanan, a fellow Warwick resident who has a full-time job as a web manager, to oversee the new site.

“I think it will certainly be an improvement,” Lemon said of the work-in-progress website that can be viewed at town.warwick.ma.us. The website the town is transitioning away from can be seen at warwickma.org.

The new website is in the beginning stages, Lemon said, with pages for the Warwick Free Public Library, Planning Board, Education Committee and Broadband Committee now in place. Some meeting minutes are available for viewing. He said a completion timeline is “up in the air.”

The old webpage, which is not being updated regularly, was set up by Lemon in 2007. Although he did not receive formal education in coding, he taught himself HTML and CSS, noting he has a son and daughter-in-law who are “computer experts” he could turn to for advice.

Although Lemon said he considered using WordPress to start the website in 2007, the platform wasn’t quite what the town was looking for at the time. Instead, the hard-coded website has been operated using a GoDaddy server, which Lemon said costs between $150 and $200 each year.

As webmaster, Lemon said he usually spends between six and 10 hours each week posting to the website on behalf of the various town boards, a task that has become more of a challenge, and often more time-consuming, as he’s grown older. Even on vacations, he aimed to set aside time for web posting.

“Warwick sort of prides itself on being a can-do town. We do it all ourselves and mostly with volunteers,” he said, adding that only so many people have the availability or know-how to pitch in with tasks like running the website. “We’re a small town with a small population, and there aren’t that many people who are A) willing to do it and B) able to do it.”

Switching to a content management system like WordPress, however, would enable the chairs of various committees to post their own minutes or agendas. Given that Buchanan has a full-time job herself and only so much time to devote to Warwick’s website, Lemon said this will allow the workload to be more evenly shared.

“That, of course, would be a great relief,” he said. “As the town has become more reliant on the internet, the amount of material that was coming in on a daily basis was simply too much. I was overwhelmed.”

Still, Lemon noted that, for now at least, he will continue to run the Warwick Historical Society’s website at history.town.warwick.ma.us until a replacement can be found. Anyone who is interested in taking on the role can contact Lemon at 978-544-7463.

Reach Shelby Ashline at 413-772-0261, ext. 270 or sashline@recorder.com.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.


Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
 

 

Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy