Warwick - Neighbors in Warwick now have a new way to connect with their neighbors and local leaders, thanks to two college students at Harvard University. CommonPlace is an online bulletin board that allows members to post questions, event information, requests and announcements for their neighbors. Need to borrow a ladder? Lost your dog? A post to the Web site enlists the help of your neighbors to solve the problem. Local officials also can publicize events or make important community announcements on CommonPlace. For instance, a homeless shelter in Virginia used used CommonPlace to organize its winter fundraiser. The service is free. “Once it’s set up, CommonPlace helps neighbors and civic leaders connect and share with the folks who live right around them,” said Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard. The company believes its service will also lower the costs associated with distributing public announcements, police reports, budget information and other civic information in addition to helping “promote citizen-oriented public problem solving.” Peter Davis and Max Novendstern founded the company in 2009, and piloted CommonPlace in Falls Church, Va. Recently, Novendstern heard about Warwick through a Communities In Bloom judge, said Newhard. According to company documents, 18 percent of households joined the network within the first six weeks of the pilot, as did the mayor, library and local newspaper. And 90 percent of needs received at least one response if not more within 24 hours. Anyone who signs up must provide their full name, address and date of birth, something the designers of the Web site believe encourages honest communications or authenticity. CommonPlace is not a forum for anonymous, questionable postings. - Birgit Bogler
Online For more information on the national CommonPlace movement, check out CommonPlaceUSA.com Or start local at Warwick.ourcommonplace.com.