LOWVILLE William Waite may have been put on the spot when he agreed to evaluate Lewis Countys Web presence, but it was a project he had been rolling over in his mind for some time.
With (Lewis County) Leadership Academy, I have to take on a special project or volunteer with an organization, so I was hemming and hawing over what do with that, he said. Im so busy and I live in the woods, so its hard to volunteer.
The Oswegatchie Education Center program director attended an economic development conference in October in Lowville, and the issue of the countys Web presence came under scrutiny. Mr. Waite agreed to find an inexpensive approach to promoting Lewis County.
The angle Im working on is to put together like-minded people to write, take photos and work on grants to promote things on a local level using pre-existing infrastructure, he said.
Mr. Waite already has developed the website www.longpondroad.com. The networking site links to websites, blogs and Facebook pages for local print, television and radio news sources, as well as county organizations, businesses and attractions.
The hope is to draw everything that relates to the county into one cohesive site.
Its meant to be simple ... a simple way to make things happen and to level up what everybodys doing, Mr. Waite said.
The three goals he has established are helping local people buy local, bringing people from other places into the county and helping to build up the community in a way that encourages people to move here.
Were trying to build networks of people. There might be one network promoting Croghan and another network promoting the Maple Museum that can interconnect, he said.
Mr. Waites partner, Tiffany Burns, is involved with the project as a photographer, and while Mr. Waite has been building the free website, he also hopes to get a Croghan blog up and running. The blog can be found at www.croghanblog.com.
With Lowville essentially the epicenter of the county, sometimes the smaller towns and villages have trouble getting the word out on events and opportunities; Mr. Waite hopes to establish more blogs for areas that otherwise might go unnoticed.
Harrisville could easily take advantage of it and even some smaller communities, Mr. Waite said.
The project is purely voluntary, and no one is getting paid, he said.
The intention is to keep the project up and running for a year and see where it goes from there.
I will be involved indefinitely, as long as it gets traction and support from people in the county, he said. But in a year, if its just me and one person, its probably going to fizzle out.
He has other ideas hed like to see the project develop into over time, but for now he just wants to see locals working together to spread the word on the wonders their home county has to offer. Mr. Waite is also an administrator for the Lewis County New York Facebook page.
Anyone interested in assisting his project as a contributor can email Mr. Waite at firstname.lastname@example.org.