Public Opinion - County Commissioners approve website

County Commissioners approve website to showcase economic development indicators
http://www.publicopiniononline.com/local/ci_28529557/county-commissioner...

CHAMBERSBURG >> A snapshot of Franklin County's quality of life is getting its own website.
Five groups have agreed to post Franklin County's prosperity indicators and health needs for all to see.

Franklin County Commissioners on Thursday agreed to chip in $6,168 toward the three-year $31,000 project.

Service agencies can focus on planning rather than gathering data, according to Franklin County Assistant Administrator Carrie Gray.

The project grew out of two reports in 2012 the Community Health Needs Assessment and the Franklin County Prosperity Indicators Report. The prosperity report compared Franklin County to six similar counties and Pennsylvania as a whole, in education, economy, health and safety.

"We are working together to bring this data to one place," said Barbara Rossini, vice president for community relations at Summit Health. "This will help community residents and organizations to identify, address and evaluate their own health and well-being concerns on an ongoing basis."

They can use the data to guide and benchmark their efforts, she said.

The website will be a collaborative effort between Summit Health, Keystone Health, the United Way of Franklin County, Franklin County government, the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce, and the Franklin County Area Development Corp. The website ( http://healthyfranklincounty.org) will be available to the public, but has not yet been constructed.

Businesses can access the site to checkout the county as a possible location for new offices and factories.

Data on the website will be updated every six months and will be the basis of a countywide needs assessment every three years, Gray said.

The previous assessment led to the creation of an early education subcommittee with goals for getting preschoolers ready for school and improving reading proficiency by third grade.

Early education centers in the county have been mapped out with a geographical information system.
"The next step is to see where they are concentrated and where they are needed," Gray said.

Other groups were created to look at nutrition, mental health and health care.

Chambersburg Communities that Care, Waynesboro Communities that Care, Community Coalition, Parent Engagement Council and the Chambersburg Borough Bike/Pedestrian Project Committee all have their roots in the assessments.

"One of the biggest advantages to having this data is that important information that will help us understand the needs of Franklin County will be available in one place," Rossini said. "Data (are) extremely important to understanding our community and how we can improve upon health and well-being."

Centre County and Montgomery County, Maryland, have completed similar projects, Gray said.