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‘See, Click, Fix’ to address Chicopee’s potholes

Date: 9/27/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

CHICOPEE – Addressing potholes and other problems will be as easy as “See, Click and Fix” for Chicopee residents with an iPhone or an Android smartphone.

On Sept. 19, Mayor Michael Bissonnette and City Engineer Steven Fredericks rolled out the formal launch of the “Chicopee Connects” smartphone app.

Part of the Commonwealth Connect program, the app and the service Chicopee will not add any extra cost to the taxpayers, Bissonnette said.

The app was developed by a Community Innovation Challenge grant provided by the Patrick Administration the city of Boston. More than 50 cities and towns are participating in the program and Chicopee joins North Adams and Ware as the only municipalities west of Worcester offering it.

Fredericks said members of the Department of Public Works (DPW) have been Beta-testing the system and he said, “It’s very easy to use.”

After downloading the app from the iTunes or the Android store, residents can report a variety of non-emergency situations – potholes, broken tree branches, lack of trash pick-up, power outages, heavy snowfalls – with those notifications going to the DPW.

They can take a photo of the problem or simply describe the issue and the location.

Bissonnette noted that people who file reports could follow up on the progress of the issue. The people who report problems can remain anonymous as well.

The online reporting can also be accessed on the city’s website.

The mayor noted that using the smart phone app doesn’t place a person’s notice “at the front of the line.” He said the conventional ways of alerting the city to problems are still in effect – such as calling his office – and that problems are addressed by several factors.

“The only problems they city can’t address are the ones we don’t know about,” Bissonnette said.

Bissonnette added the city is working on an “open checkbook” feature on the Chicopee website that would put all of the city’s financial data online. He believes that will take place before the end of the year.