Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Sandy city staff launches new web platform to garner public input, educate residents on projects

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF SANDY - Sandy Speaks aims to garner public input and inform the community on city projects.  With numerous large projects on its plate, the city of Sandy is putting a special focus on better informing and garnering input from the community.

One tool they hope can help with both is a website called Sandy Speaks.

This public engagement platform went live with a soft launch at the end of 2021.

While the city already utilized social media and had an expansive website full of information, Sandy Speaks is meant to be "a one-stop shop for participating in decision-making online in an easy, seamless way," said city recorder Jeff Aprati.

"There are so many different ways for people to participate nowadays," city manager Jordan Wheeler explained. The city receives quite a bit of engagement through social media and council meetings, but it can be difficult to keep track of every comment and post made outside of the city's page. "This offers one big clearinghouse for all of that information to come in. It can be pretty confusing how to best provide input but also see what other people are saying."COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF SANDY - Info on the wastewater treatment plant project can be found on Sandy Speaks.

"City council has been talking about increasing public input for a while," added Aprati. "The council has been really excited about (the website). This site makes it easier for people to participate and easier for us to collect and understand input."

Sandy Speaks features informational pages on current city projects like the wastewater treatment plant and comprehensive plan, as well as quick surveys and polls to gauge public opinion on those projects and what's important to the community.

You can subscribe to receive updates on these projects and see which staff members are connected to each project and their contact information. COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF SANDY - City Recorder Jeff Aprati is one of the main people, along with Shelley Denison, who helps maintain Sandy Speaks.

"It's engaging, it's interactive and it helps build community because people can see (how other people interacted with the site)," explained associate planner Shelley Denison. "This project is about having authentic intent from the city. We want to communicate the intent to actually use the feedback that we receive in real, actionable ways, and not just pay lip service to this idea of engaging the public."

"We want people to feel like their input is going to get used," Aprati added.

Aprati added that in order to make the launch of the site more fun, the city is also hosting a parks and trails photo contest on Sandy Speaks. Entries are accepted until Friday, Jan. 21.

To check out Sandy Speaks and make your opinions and input known on city projects, visit PMG FILE PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - The city is hosting a parks and trails photo contest on the new engagement platform.

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