New app enables residents to log concerns

by Dan Holland

Brecksville residents can now take advantage of a free customized mobile app – My Civic 311 – to report concerns or schedule requests with the city’s service department.

The app, which went live Sept. 5, also allows users to receive push notifications for road closings and emergency alerts; access the latest city news and a calendar of events; find information on local businesses; and access a government directory.

In other words, said Joe Kickel, the city’s director of public service, it’s a one-stop shop for addressing residents’ needs and concerns.

“It gives residents another tool to submit requests,” Kickel said. “It brings that 21st century technology and accessibility that people even more so now may be coming accustomed to, using the click of a button. It gives that avenue where if you see something, you can quickly – with the touch of a button – submit a request. Sometimes, you may not have a number to call immediately, but if you have this app on your phone, it provides all relevant city links and information.”

A preset list of items includes appliance and large-item pick-up, dead animal removal, pothole repair and tree lawn consultation. The most common requests so far, Kickel said, have consisted of residents arranging for pickup of old appliances and tree requests. The latter involves sending out an arborist for inspections and evaluations.

Certain concerns and inquiries will be directed to the appropriate department.

“With requests such as a traffic signal or stop sign issue, if you click on those, they tell you to contact the police non-emergency number,” said Kickel. “That way, those concerns can be immediately dispatched rather than going into the request system.”

Requests through the app for the service department are immediately received by a dispatcher. Feedback can also be submitted to the city’s recreation department, Kickel noted.

Kickel encourages residents to take advantage of the app.

“I hope that more people will install it and utilize it because it’s more than just a request,” he said. “You have access to a calendar of events and a city-wide directory of businesses and different resources, so there’s a lot of good functionality there that I think is important for people to have at the touch of a button. The biggest advantage is just in giving people more ways to submit issues or concerns they may have.” ∞