CDC officials will roll out ‘MeetMurrysville’ app at April panel discussion | TribLIVE.com
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CDC officials will roll out ‘MeetMurrysville’ app at April panel discussion

Patrick Varine
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Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
MECDC Executive Director Jill Cooper clicks on the “MeetMurrysville” app on her phone.
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Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
MECDC Executive Director Jill Cooper opens the “MeetMurrysville” app on her phone.

Murrysville Economic and Community Development Corp. officials want local residents to have access to local goods and services at their fingertips.

As they prepare for the second annual Murrysville Business District update, MECDC Executive Director Jill Cooper is looking to move the organization in a modern direction. And what better way than a phone app?

As it turns out, the best way turned out to be a combination of app and website.

At this year’s update, set for April 23, MECDC will officially roll out its MeetMurrysville app, which connects users to a categorized listing of local businesses, a sort of digital Rolodex that includes contact information and maps to find a business.

“It’s a quick, easy thing for people,” Cooper said. “Even if you live in Murrysville, you may not know where the cutoffs are, or you not know all of the businesses in town.”

As MECDC began to develop the idea with the help of Ferri Land Co. office manager Khrystal Gresko, they decided that creating a full-on phone application is not what they ultimately wanted.

“(Creating an app) was an entirely different process with a lot more frequent fees,” Gresko said. “You had to have an account with Apple and an account with Android.”

Cooper said cost was a consideration.

“As a nonprofit, you look for the most cost-effective way to make things happen,” she said.

They ultimately chose to create an app button that could be downloaded onto a phone’s app screen. But clicking on it takes users to the MeetMurrysville.com directory, where they can browse local services categorized by dining, shopping, services and parking/transit.

The idea for the app originated with a map of the Route 22 and Old William Penn business corridor, which is on display at the Roberts Trail head access point for the Westmoreland Heritage Trail.

“We initially thought that, with people coming through Murrysville on the trail, this would give them a chance to find a place to eat lunch or shop,” Cooper said. “This offers everyone access to the directory through their phone.”

MECDC officials will update the trail head map twice a year, Cooper said, and businesses that wish to be added to the MeetMurrysville app can contact the CDC through its website, MECDC.com.

Gresko and MECDC officials began work on the project in the fall of 2018 and, while it is already available, the official roll-out will be at the business update meeting on April 23, where Cooper expects attendees will get an encouraging picture of Murrysville.

“As you come into Murrysville, you have four large open parcels — you have space right at the beginning (coming from Monroeville), middle and end,” Cooper said.

While nothing official has been announced, Cooper said she has seen interest in all four parcels, “and we’ve seen a lot of activity in our strip malls as well.”

“It’s been strong and I think, as long as interest rates stay low, we’ll continue to see some more things coming in,” she said.

This year’s business update will feature a panel discussion, and MECDC officials are looking to incorporate feedback they’ve received from attendees.

“The feedback we received was in support of both a spring and a fall meeting, which we plan to start doing,” Cooper said.

The group also wants to begin taking nominations for awards to recognize local businesses’ efforts, including a $3,000 award to a company looking to expand its reach in Murrysville and awards for businesses that improve their properties and donate to local charities.

“We want to continue engaging the local business community,” Cooper said.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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