Web wizard Devine reappointed to town’s economic committee

John Devine, who led efforts to market Ridgefield community events in neighboring towns through targeted Facebook advertising, has been reappointed to the Economic and Community Development Commission. He also helps manage the economic commission’s website

“You’ve done a remarkable job,” Selectwoman Maureen Kozlark told him. “The website alone is worth all the effort.”

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Jan. 23 to reappoint Devine to the seven-member commission known as the ECDC.

The ECDC website — ridgefielddevelopment.com — has been redesigned to be mobile-phone friendly, with a series of “buttons” for categories: calendars and events, arts and entertainment, where to shop, where to park, where to dine, open for business.

It also does a bit of bragging:

“Historic Ridgefield, CT is often described as a New England Norman Rockwell town,” The website says. “Situated in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains our town is one hour north of New York City and accessible by train. Ridgefield has been rated as the #1 town in Connecticut and one of America’s Top 100 Safest cities. Ridgefield also boasts one of the best school systems in Fairfield County and Ridgefield High School was ranked as #4 in the state by U.S. News & World Report.

“The town is always the center of activity with events virtually every month. Shopping events, such as the Spring Stroll, Summer Fest, Fall in Love and the Holiday Stroll. Cultural festivals include the Annual Gone Country BBQ, the Ridgefield Independent Film Festival (RIFF) and the Fall Jazz Weekend. The annual Ridgefield Memorial Day Parade is one of the largest in Fairfield County. CHIRP musical concerts are held twice a week all summer in Ballard Park.”

In addition to overseeing the website, Devine has led the ECDC’s efforts to market events and businesses in Ridgefield.

In a December report to the selectmen, Devine said the ECDC spent $2,500 over the last six months of 2018 on “targeted initiative-specific Facebook advertising.”

The ECDC’s message: “Visit Ridgefield for events, arts and culture.”

Devine said the ECDC had targeted the nearby — and with residents likely to visit — towns of Redding, Wilton and Danbury in Connecticut, as well as New York towns of North Salem, South Salem and Pound Ridge.

The effort had reached over 137,600 individuals with the primary audience 35 to 64 years old, with a gender breakdown of 65 percent female and 35 percent male.

Among the ECDC goals for 2019 are “to continue and expand” its Ridgefield marketing program. Last fall, the ECDC got a town meeting to approve a change to the ordinance it exists under, allowing it to accept private funding which will allow it to expand marketing efforts on behalf of Ridgefield events and businesses.

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