FAIRMONT – With the nickname of “The Friendly City,” the attitude of officials and the people who run the government should reflect that moniker too.
To do that, the city has to be business-friendly as well, which the government officials are working to live up to, namely through a new web page aimed at the endeavor.
“It’s going to expand the bounds of a typical city site,” said Alex Petry, program manager of economic development for the City of Fairmont. “It’s going to be used as a selling piece for potential business owners, developers who want to move in town and just anyone who doesn’t have a lot of information about Fairmont and wants to find that information.”
According to Petry, the city offices get questions from potential business developers asking multiple questions about how to get started and what they have to do within the city’s guidelines to do so.
To both compile the necessary information to start and help these businesses get off the ground, the city commissioned the development of this website, which Petry has been working on since last year. It officially launched last Monday.
“We felt like for those looking to start a new business whether it be you’re new to doing business or new to Fairmont, to get the ball rolling you would jump through so many hoops,” Petry said. “So what we wanted to do here is centralize all that information, and that’s a step-by-step process so it’s a one-stop-shop for setting up your business.”
As Petry said, he and the city want to have a mutual relationship with its local businesses, because they can benefit each other through bringing people in and building up a base of citizens and customers to populate one another. To accomplish this type of ideal, Petry set up a page where potential business developers can look at available locations so they can set up shop in a place that suits their needs.
“We have a visual commercial property module,” Petry said. “We’ve been trying to work with realtors in the area to showcase available commercial property that is currently available, for example, if you’re looking for a place for your business, click on any icons and it will tell you everything you need to know such as address, square footage, district.”
Petry showed off the completed website at a previous meeting of Fairmont City Council. The website’s offerings received approval from the council, and the mayor himself is anticipating business owners and entrepreneurs utilizing the site to bring their work to Fairmont.
“I’m really excited about it,” said Fairmont Mayor Brad Merrifield. “I think it’s going to potentially be very significant to people looking at Fairmont wanting to do business here.”
Because what is good for local businesses is good for Fairmont, Merrifield said he believes the website will be a harbinger for those looking to start in the city, and being a part of the process is going to be easier on both ends.
“I believe it’s going to help people – even local people – navigate our system,” Merrifield said. “A lot of time you will want to start a business and you don’t know what to do, you don’t know where to start, what the requirements are.
“It is going to open up the information to anyone wanting to invest in our area, and anything we can do to help make it easier for people to deal with the city is a good thing in my opinion.”
Petry said this new web page is not replacing the city government site outright but is just an additional part of the city’s online presence. However, in the coming months, the main site will have a complete redesign, where Petry’s page will have a place of easy access.
“This is an early preview of what is to come later this year with the www.fairmontwv.gov website,” Petry said. “This is just an extension of economic development through that main site.”