Residents weigh in on technology in Tempe

In its push to become more technologically savvy, Tempe is asking residents how they want the city to get plugged in.

The city’s Technology, Economic and Community Development Council held a forum Wednesday night for residents to submit their ideas.

Mayor Hugh Hallman opened the forum by emphasizing Tempe’s commitment to improving technology.

“We appreciate any ideas that will help us better communicate with residents, businesses and future partners,” Hallman said.

State Press Television

Committee member Corey Woods prompted those in attendance Wednesday night to write down suggestions that he then organized into specific topics and read aloud.

Among the ideas were comprehensive event calendars on the Web site, a more convenient city employee directory and implementing iPhone applications for photographing and reporting graffiti.

The council held a similar forum for the first time last year that gathered a wide array of ideas.

Council chair Onnie Shekerjian outlined some of the technological improvements the city has made since last year’s meeting, including creating social media accounts and making Web site improvements.

Suggestions from the community have resulted in more school and parks information on the city Web site as well as a Spanish language translation function, she said.

Some ideas are currently in the works or shelved for budget reasons. Shekerjian said the council is working with The Arizona Republic to create a program for real-time updates on crime, road closures and special events.

Last year many residents asked for a revamp of the “WAZ Tempe” Wi-Fi network. Shekerjian said the improvement was not feasible at the time, but the city is submitting an application for the Google Fiber program, which would provide a massive bandwidth boost for the city.

Fred von Graf, founder of SocialMediaAZ, an event that helps businesses use social media, gave examples of local businesses that had benefitted greatly from the use and said the city could do the same.

“Social media offers many opportunities from a business perspective,” he said.

The city of Tempe maintains a Twitter account and an online comment forum that encourages residents to have an open discourse with leaders and offer their suggestions, Shekerjian said

“I can’t think of many cities that are as transparent as Tempe,” she said.

Tempe’s Community Relations Manager Shelley Hearn said that in the first meeting, held last year, residents had many questions and suggestions about Tempe’s technology.

“It ran the gamut from people who wanted to sign up for parks and recreation programs online to people who said they couldn’t read the city Web site on their PDAs,” she said.

Shekerjian said the council organized all of last year’s suggestions into ones that could be immediately addressed, others that could be worked on over time, and others that the city didn’t have the resources for and would be best addressed by the private sector.

Shekerjian said she is not a technology expert but that the city can reach out to people with expertise and good ideas.

“We have great resources within our community,” she said.

Reach the reporter at

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.



This website uses cookies to make your expierence better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.