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Huntington summer program registration goes online

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On Monday, March 7, 2016, the Town of Huntington unveiled its interactive website, which replaces a mass-mailed program brochure. Residents can use the site to view and register for available activities. (Credit: Barry Sloan)

Town of Huntington officials have unveiled a digital parks brochure to make it easier to sign up for parks and recreation department programs.

Starting this week, instantly signing up for programs including camps, tennis lessons and adult athletics is just a click away in a fully interactive digital brochure.

And with everything available online, officials will mostly stop printing and distributing a traditional paper brochure.

“Now you have an opportunity to not only go online but an opportunity to learn about the program and sign up,” Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said. “It’s a one-stop shop: you look, you choose, you act.”

The electronic brochure shows how many people already have registered for programs and features town-created videos and coupons from advertisers. And instead of updating a brochure just twice a year, officials can create a digital brochure for each season’s offerings.

Online registration was added to program sign-up options a few years ago and that use has far outpaced signing up for programs in person at Town Hall, officials said. Petrone said the digital brochure is just the latest step in moving all departments toward using the latest technology.

“We wanted to be more responsive,” he said. “People really want to know what’s going on, and they want detail and they are not going to read something that’s upward of eight pages. So we rehauled the website and this is part of that.”

He also said the switch to digital and eliminating paper would save the town money and help the environment.

Switching to online program brochures and registration is expected to save the town $50,000 in printing and distribution costs and reduce paper usage by 3 million sheets annually. The program software cost about $3,000 and all of the customization was done by the town.

“We know how many mailings everyone gets and how many times is it considered junk mail and is thrown out” without being read, Petrone said. “They have no idea something is going on that could be of interest to them so they miss out. So it’s waste environmentally and financially, and we are cutting it out.

About 500 copies will still be printed and mailed to those who specifically ask for a printed brochure. Residents will no longer automatically receive a hard copy at their home.

Petrone said the benefits don’t stop at convenience or being fiscally and environmentally friendly. The first edition will bring in about $7,000 in advertising revenue.

Robert Vanacore, owner of Fitness Through Boxing in Dix Hills, purchased an ad in the digital brochure after considering buying an advertising banner to be placed at the Dix Hills Ice Rink.

“When I was told about the brochure, it was a little cheaper and I think it’s going to get out to more people than just at the ice rink,” he said. “It made sense.”

Stephen Carballeira, who works in the town’s Information Technology department and helped create the digital brochure, said municipalities often work to catch up to technology, but not with the program brochure. “We’re really proud of this,” he said. “We’ve found something where we’re right there with what people expect. ”

Huntington Towns digital parks department program brochure:

The spring digital version goes live Wednesday

The summer version will be available in about 6 weeks.

To access the brochure and registration, go to www.tohparks.com.

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