A new website is offering a single place to find out what is going on in the city and how to get involved, as well as a directory of service organizations, faith-based groups and more.
Gahanna Mayor Tom Kneeland said he bought the domain, www.onegahanna.com, and he is the site's administrator as a citizen of Gahanna. The site launched on May 26.
Kneeland said he and Fred Kauser, who serves as the Mifflin Township fire chief, brainstormed the idea when they've met in meetings outside of their jobs.
Both emphasize they're involved strictly as citizens and not in their official capacities.
"It came together uniquely," Kneeland said. "This is a site with a purpose of providing information about the Gahanna community and its civic, service and faith organizations, encouraging membership and involvement. Plus it also includes a dynamic community events calendar."
The website offers directories for service, community, history and faith organizations, as well as a drop-down menu that takes the user to sites for the city of Gahanna, Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools, Columbus Academy and St. Matthew, as well as the Gahanna Visitors and Convention Bureau.
The site also offers a menu for volunteering with organizations including the Jaycees, Kiwanis, Lions, Toastmasters, Rotary, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Kauser said it's about promoting the things going on in the city.
"Tom's expertise as a web designer makes him the perfect administrator," Kauser said.
"It's easy for people to use. It's just so convenient. That's the idea. You can open the calendar and see what's going on. It makes it easy for the average citizen to see what's happening," he said.
Kauser said the site is a place to let people know what they could do to get involved.
"It's a virtual space with a calendar and it makes it easy to let people know what's going on," he said. "It directs a lot of traffic to one place that's neutral -- a place where the community can find things to do without going to a bunch of websites."
Kauser said he likes Kneeland's leadership style of engaging the community regardless of where they come from.
"He invited me into the arts council," he said. "I'm involved as a citizen, because I care about our community. It's a way for me to express that outside of being a fire administrator. It's a way for me to contribute in a small way. Tom knows how to make things happen."
Kneeland said the city gets calls from residents, asking questions about the timing of fireworks and when the pools open, and the website will provide answers to common questions.
He said he's trying to keep the site non-governmental, with the exception of the calendar that is populated via the city.
"It's more of a directory service, like being able to find access to a church or synagogue," Kneeland said. "When we get new events, it's populated by my office. We embed it in this site."
Kauser said many wonderful opportunities are happening in Gahanna.
"Look at all the civic groups going on in our community," he said. "We have lots of civic groups and ways citizens can get involved to make the community better. That's one of Tom's motivations. Many of the groups have been here since the city was founded. This One Gahanna (site) reinforces it's all of us together."
Kneeland said he has pledged the site's access to a number of service organization to help promote their organizations and bring them more attention.
Kneeland said it will be a work in progress, but anyone with suggestions is welcome to leave comments under the menu "contact us" on the website.