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  NEW TOWNS
SUMMER 2005
 

Resident Starts Community Intranet Company In Amelia Park

Suzanne Batchelor, resident volunteer webmaster of Amelia Park, has recently launched Web Residents, a community web development firm to help communities around the country to develop digital intranets. Amelia Park is a TND on Amelia Island at the far northeastern tip of Florida

Targeting residential single-family communities, multi-family developments, and small- to mid-sized municipalities, Batchelor is ready to expand her business into other communities. "My goal is to become the industry's leading provider of advanced community intranet technology," Batchelor says.

"Having spent two years volunteering to maintain and enhance the site in Amelia Park, I have come to believe that other communities might also have an interest in using this technology," she said.

Non-secure first-generation public websites leave personal data exposed, Batchelor explains. "In this age of rampant identity theft, personal data and contact information should be available only via a secure log-in process. Another challenge facing first-generation community websites is that typically, they are not improved much over time."

Batchelor's new firm has spearheaded the adoption of community intranets -- as opposed to websites -- "by providing its clients with a feature-rich community intranet in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the expense necessary to pursue the older website approach," she says.

"Web Residents has the ability to launch a customized community intranet site in five days or less. It is a highly customizable and functionally superior -- yet cost-effective -- alternative to ordinary community websites," the Amelia Park computer wiz says.

A brief smorgasbord of other features offered by the Amelia Park community intranet are:

• Summary page containing late-breaking information
• Resident access "which transforms the neighborhood into a connected community 24 hours a day," Batchelor says
• Limited "guest access" for prospective residents
• A newsletter library
• An online document library
• Directory listings
• A listing of coming events
• Surveys -- and in some other communities, absentee voting.

"The cost of getting an intranet into a neighborhood ranges from $5 to $15 per resident per year, depending upon the number of residents in a neighborhood and the optional features desired," Batchelor says.

"Depending upon the extra features a community might want, charges are cafeteria-style at a cost of $250 per year per group or per merchant." "Considering that some merchant village revenue can generate between $300 and $2,000 per year per merchant, the entire system can pay for itself if it is managed correctly. You do the math," she says.

For further information, Batchelor may be contacted at: suz@webresidents.com.