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App in development for Jacksonville city news

Inclement weather, road closures among the updates

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The city of Jacksonville will soon have a mobile app with city news updates and other helpful tools, officials say.

Jacksonville Public Information Officer Ben Nunnally said Friday that the app, still in planning stages, will condense and simplify the city’s website for convenience of portable device users. 

The idea sprang from City Councilwoman Sherry Laster, who had been introduced to similar apps for other municipalities at a conference she recently attended. 

“I was networking with some other people and they were showing me how it benefited them, and I thought it would be something awesome for our city,” Laster said. 

Laster said the most beneficial feature in her opinion would be the notification feature that would alert the public of inclement weather, road closures and more. 

“The thing that we are most excited about — probably the biggest deal — is that we will be able to send push notifications,” Nunnally said. “So if there is a weather alert or if something serious is happening on a specific street, or even if it’s fun stuff like there’s an event going on, we’ll be able to give people channels they can subscribe to to get that information.”

Nunnally said folks will be able to choose which notifications they want to receive.

Nunnally said the app will also have direct links to important contact information for the city’s fire station, police department, or City Council in a more centralized location. 

“The big deal is trying to make it easier for people to get the info they need in a quick concise way,” Nunnally said. “This would allow you to pull that out of your pocket as opposed to try and get to it using a mobile browser.”

Nunnally said his goal was to consolidate information that would help people on-the-go, allowing them to locate city resources such as a food bank or a specially scheduled events for children. 

“It’s gonna hit a lot of markers,” Nunnally said. “It’s going to have some economic development aspects to it — trying to show people the forms they may need to allow for getting a business license or anything else you may need to do in a public capacity.”

Nunnally said if all goes well, the app could be launched within a couple of months. He said the app would be free and available for download on all major app stores.