If you’ve ever tried to register for a program online with the Colchester Parks & Recreation Department and become a little frustrated with finding the program or with logging into the system, then prepare for good news! Staff at Colchester Parks & Recreation are currently working on implementing a new online registration system in an effort to make their online experience more user-friendly.
After many years of using the WebTrac and RecTrac software, it is time for a change. In December, the Department will launch a new site developed by CivicRec. CivicRec is a division of CivicPlus, the company that also designed the template for the Town of Colchester website, and specializes in software built specifically for local governments. The new system is expected to work in tandem with the Town’s existing website to provide a better online experience for town residents and visitors alike. According to their website, CivicPlus has built websites for over 3,500 communities across the U.S., and the CivicRec platform has also been featured in the National Parks & Recreation Association‘s magazine.
The primary driver for the transition was the public interface. Rec Department staff wanted a site that was instantly recognizable as a Town of Colchester site, but also one that best facilitates browsing and registering for programs or requesting a reservation of a Colchester park amenity, such as the pavilions at Bayside and Airport Park. Likewise, a functioning, user-friendly mobile site was also a deciding factor. Staff weighed their options, consulted with other Vermont communities using the CivicRec platform, and met with a representative to discuss the system’s capabilities and ensure that it would be able to meet the departmental needs on both the public-facing and internal-operating interfaces.
For users, some light setup will be required before they can begin registering for programs. Existing WebTrac data will not be imported to CivicRec in an attempt to ensure the most up-to-date contact info for households connecting through the site. Even if you’ve signed up for a program with Colchester Parks & Recreation in the past, you’ll need to set up a new household with current family member data. Users will also have the option to opt-in to reminder emails and receive an automatically-generated reminder prior to the start of a program.
Parks & Recreation staff are also looking forward to the new interface, which will be web-hosted. This means that they can access their program data at anytime from any computer with internet access. They’ll be able to make updates and customize program listings to a greater degree than was allowed with the RecTrac/WebTrac system they are currently using.
The CivicRec site will go live on Friday, Dec. 20th. All Winter/Spring programs will be available through the CivicRec site, with WebTrac officially phased out after the final Fall Program in December. The Parks & Recreation Department’s Winter/Spring Guide is expected to be delivered to residents prior to this date, so this will mark the first time in many years that residents won’t be able to register for programs as soon as they receive their Guide. Still, the launch date will be made a clear as possible prior to launch, and residents will be able to plan ahead for what programs they would like to sign-up for; residents will still be given two weeks to register for programs before registration opens to non-residents as well. Most Winter/Spring programs will begin after January 20 to allow any bugs to be worked out, and to give ample time for users to become acquianted with the new system.
To learn more about Colchester Parks & Recreation’s projects, programs, and events, visit us on the web at http://colchestervt.gov/recreation and check us out on social media: we’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat @ColchesterRec.