Report an issue: City of Aiken Explorer app a new digital tool for residents

October 5, 2018

Residents and others who want to connect with and find out more about the City of Aiken have a new way to do so through their Android and Apple iOS mobile devices.

Aiken City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh announced the debut of a new City of Aiken Explorer app on Friday morning at Newberry Hall.

“This is something we have been working on for quite a while, and we’re very excited to present it to you,” said Bedenbaugh, who was the featured speaker during the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce’s First Friday Means Business breakfast.

The app can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play.

“I think it has a lot of features that that you will find useful,” Bedenbaugh said. “It is an example of how we can be a little more responsive and transparent.”

The app has six categories: Visitor Info, My Aiken, Maps, News and Notices, Employment and Report an Issue.

Bedenbaugh called the Report an Issue category “one of the best features of this new app.”

It allows app users to file a complaint or to notify the City of Aiken about problems such as water leaks or potholes.

But “if there is a public safety emergency,” Bedenbaugh said, “you still need to call 911.”

Push notifications are available.

“They’re real easy to opt in and out of,” Bedenbaugh said. “There’s also some geofencing in there, which I think is really neat. Push notifications are very good tools in the event we have a boil water advisory. With the geofencing, it (the app) will know where you are, and it will send you boil water advisories.”

Because the app is a content aggregator, “it will take you to other spots,” Bedenbaugh said. “If you want to read the city budget on your smart phone, it will give you the link to it.”

The overall theme of Bedenbaugh’s talk was his vision for Aiken going forward, and he touched on a variety of topics.

He said the strategies for “maintaining and continuing our city’s vibrancy” include providing incentives for businesses, seeking grants to expand sewer capacity, finding solutions for traffic issues on Whiskey Road, encouraging developers to build more rental housing and make zoning ordinances less restrictive “where appropriate.”

Bedenbaugh told his audience that Aiken’s leaders also want to make sure the city benefits from the U.S. Army’s decision to establish its new Cyber Command headquarters in the Augusta area at Fort Gordon.

“We are working hard to be a player in cyber,” he said. “We’ve got staff members and elected officials involved and on boards over in Augusta, and we’ve been focusing on marketing Aiken as a place for some of the workers to live. In a lot of cases, it will be just as fast for them to get to their place of employment from Aiken as it would be if they lived in certain parts of Columbia County (in Georgia). We also believe we will be a player in offering office space so those professionals, in addition to living in Aiken, will be working in Aiken.”

Bedenbaugh concluded by describing Aiken’s future as very bright.

“We are going to build on what we have and what we’ve done in the past, and we will continue to make Aiken the best community it can be,” he said. “But this is going to be a team effort, and we need to have your input so we can keep moving ahead.”

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