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Several Western Mass. Cities and Towns Join App to Report Quality of Life Issues

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(WGGB) — An app first used by the City of Boston to help residents report community problems to the city has now expanded to included over four dozen cities and towns, including several in western Massachusetts.

The app is called “Commonwealth Connect.” It allows residents to report “quality of life” issues directly to city and town officials, including concerns with street lights, potholes, graffiti, trees, and trash and recycling.

Now, the app, developed by the City of Boston and New Haven-based SeeClickFix, has expanded to include 54 cities and towns statewide, including Chicopee, Clarksburg, Northampton, North Adams, Orange, and Ware.

In a statement, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz says, “Northampton residents quickly embraced this expanded citizen engagement tool. The City of Northampton now is working towards integration of Commonwealth Connect with our work order management system, called VueWorks. 670 issues from Northampton residents have been submitted since the soft launch in January.”

Smartphone users can download the app to their Apple or Android device, take a picture of a particular problem, and easily submit it. The user will then receive a tracking number, which one can use to see when an issue has been resolved.

Northampton launched the program on a limited basis about 6 months ago to deal with quality of life issues: broken parking meters, graffiti and trash, and road problems.

“We’ve had a great response from the public. I think we’re now up over 700 reported issues that people have reported,” said Narkewicz.

Narkewicz says resident can still call city hall to report a problem, but ‘Commonwealth Connect’ results in an instant work order and a quicker response by city crews.

The expansion of the app is made possible by a grant awarded to the City of Boston by the Patrick administration. The Community Innovation Challenge Grant looks to invest in innovations that have a potential to lower costs and improve services through new uses of technology, regionalization, and improved management practices.

Since January 2013, state officials say that over 4,000 service requests have been submitted to 40 cities and towns across Massachusetts since January. They add that over 1,300 of those were reported via the app, and about 3,400 requests have been completed.

Android Users: CLICK HERE to download the app from Google Play

iOS (iPod/iPhone) Users: CLICK HERE to download the app from Apple’s App Store

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