Using technology to connect neighborsRandy Buendorf created www.neighborconnects.com
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
Randy Buendorf thought that there must be a way to better connect with his neighbors. He thought a website would be a good idea, but had no experience in creating one. And then his 12-year-old son encouraged him to take on the task and offered to help.
The result is www.neighborconnects.com. Buendorf and his wife, Karen, started out recruiting five of their neighbors to sign up in April 2010. Now 42 households in his neighborhood have registered with the site.
The success of the site has actually inspired other neighborhoods to connect as well. The website divides neighborhoods into zones. His neighborhood is Zone 1 and features approximately 100 homes. He is starting a Zone 2 in the Evermoore neighborhood in upcoming weeks.
“It’s all about connecting with the people near you,” said Buendorf of the concept.
Each zone is password protected so the information is not public. There is a city page that lists general information about events going on. Additionally, Buendorf shares tips about topics including safety, gardening and more.
Alicia Barnick, who lives in the neighborhood, said Buendorf's idea to connect neighbors online has been amazing.
"As a neighbor and as a business(owner), we have been able to promote our business and support other local businesses which will make Rosemount a stronger community," added Barnick.
For Buendorf and his neighbors the site provides a resource to connect, communicate and collaborate with people living around them. Neighbors can connect by sharing whatever information they feel like.
The website also serves as a way to communicate about neighborhood announcements and events. For example, several houses in the neighborhood were the victims of vandalism, so NeighborConnects put up an alert to let others know of the activities in the area.
Another bonus is that neighbors can use the site to sell items or give things away.
Additionally, the website has helped save money through collaborative efforts. For instance NeighborConnects worked out a deal with a garbage service for a reduced rate if they could get 15 households to sign up. Buendorf put the offer on Neighborconnects and almost instantly enough households signed up.
Neighbors can use the site to make referrals as well. Several businesses are featured on the site. Buendorf said another goals of the website is to support area businesses.
Buendorf, who provides the website as a free service, said he hopes to get more neighborhoods signed up. He said it’s a valuable tool and could benefit others as well.
So far, Buendorf said he feels like he has accomplished what he set out to do -- better connect his neighborhood. The good has even spread outside their neighborhood. As a neighborhood they volunteered at Feed My Starving Children earlier this year and plan to do it again.
“It’s been a lot of fun to get to know my neighbors and work together,” he said.
To check it out visit www.neighborconnects.com. For more information contact Randy Buendorf at email@example.com.