Chelsea Schneider, Municipal Innovations Specialist

Yorktown residents can get the latest information on community events and other town happenings directly to their inboxes thanks to a new e-newsletter.

Town leaders launched “What’s happening in Yorktown” in 2016, and it’s already amassed 1,500 subscribers.

“It’s a good balance of keeping people informed on necessary things like road closures, community events and also providing a nice way to start your day,” said Todd Blevins, assistant town manager for Yorktown. “We’ve heard nothing but positive feedback. What I’m really proud of, it has reached the point where people say ‘Hey, I saw this in the newsletter this week. Thanks for letting us know about this.’ And that’s what we wanted.”

The e-newsletter is built using the email marketing service MailChimp and replaced a paper bulletin the town used to send out several years ago but has since disbanded.

“The best part is it is completely free,” Blevins said. “One of the reasons we wanted to start it – communication is a key part of municipal service.”

Beyond the newsletter, the town is focusing on redeveloping its downtown. Two years ago, the town surveyed its citizens to gauge their priorities. They responded with a desire to see more shopping, restaurants and employment opportunities.

The town also is focusing on establishing a greater link between downtown and a major park, Morrow’s Meadow. Another overarching goal is to brand the downtown as a destination, so talks have centered on the general culture of the town’s center.

“That’s what we are striving for, to have a place people want to visit on the weekends or come from surrounding communities to Downtown Yorktown,” Blevins said. “At the same time while we are looking at new amenities that could be in the downtown area, we want to focus on people who have already invested their time and energy into downtown and doing what they can to help bring it up.”

Among other projects, Yorktown is focusing on growing its trail network. In July, the town is preparing to host its annual Four for the Fourth, a 4-mile run where proceeds benefit trail projects. The daylong festival also features a canoe race, cardboard and duct tape boat races and a carnival.

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