The Oak Grove Tourism Commission voted to approve the payment for the initial redesign of the Oak Grove city website and social media platforms during its regular meeting for the month of September this Tuesday afternoon.

Mayor Theresa Jarvis was a guest speaker at the meeting to propose the city's plan to revamp its website and asked the Tourism Commission to pay for the initial redesign, while the city will pay the monthly fee for the web construction company.

"In talking with our IT company (Copperband Technologies, LLC), our webpage is not in good shape at all," Jarvis said to the commission. "It's in pretty rough shape as a matter of fact.

"It's really ugly, needs to be updated and get with the times, because it's just outdated."

Jarvis explained that she worked with the city's IT company, Copperband, to determine what IT company Oak Grove should contract to build a new and up-to-date website. She told the commission that she was referred to Thrive Networks.

Tourism's Executive Director Traci Cunningham shared that the tourism website was also designed by Thrive. Cunningham also added that she and Jarvis had a previous meeting to discuss payment for the proposal from Thrive.

The initial redesign will cost $15,540, which Tourism was slated to pay, while the city would then pay a monthly fee to Thrive, to allow the company to continue monitoring the website and social media to keep them constantly up to date.

"With this, it will connect everything in Oak Grove," Jarvis said.

"Businesses, tourism, police department, all different areas of Oak Grove. So, when somebody is getting ready to move here, they're going to google Oak Grove and if somebody clicks on it, it looks really nice and they can see what kind of businesses, growth that we have."

Jarvis continued to explain that in talking with Thrive, the initial proposal was twice the price of what she was proposing to the commission and included many other features that a city the size of Oak Grove didn't need. After discussing what Oak Grove's website really needed, taking out unnecessary features, Jarvis was able to land at $15,540.

Jarvis also added that Thrive has won several awards over the last few years, showing that they are a credible IT company.

"A recognition that is worthy of mentioning is that Thrive has won the best military website with Fort Campbell Strong Defense Alliance in 2019," Jarvis said. "They do internet advertising and have won several awards for industry-based copywriting and use of media and memorabilia."

Jarvis continued to share that Thrive will also be monitoring social media comments 24/7, answering questions that people may ask or dealing with negative comments. However, for questions that Thrive is unsure of or in other instances, Thrive will ask city members how they want Thrive to proceed, in order to keep the city's social media professional.

The new website will also feature links to local lodging and hotels, events, businesses and more.

Jarvis was also excited that the new website will feature a link for Oak Grove residents to make complaints within the city for things such as potholes, overgrown grassy areas, etc.

The need for a new website became apparent after several complaints over the last few years from city officials, Oak Grove residents and even Jarvis herself while she was still city clerk.

After the discussion concluded, the tourism commission voted unanimously to approve the payment for the new website and social media revamp. The funding for that payment will come out the Tourism's City Hall Community Development Fund.

In other business

• The commission swore in Walmart Store Manager Matt Buchanan as a new tourism commissioner.

• Cunningham announced that Oak Grove tourism will be receiving an award from International Festivals and Events Association this year. However, she and Jarvis have not yet been notified of what that award or awards will be.

• Cunningham informed the commission that tourism will be audited; that process was to begin today.

• The commission voted to deem an out of commission Kubota ZD331 lawnmower as surplus.

Reach Avery Seeger at 270-887-3236 or aseeger@kentuckynewera.com. Follow him on Twitter @AveryNewEra

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