It may have cost a cool $1 million, but Dallas' city website, which has looked like a throwback to the Geocities era since, well, the Geocities era, is finally going live with a much needed update on Friday. According to city spokeswoman Sana Syed, the site will be everything the current website isn't -- attractive, responsive and useful for those without a degree in Google-Fu.
Beyond a fresh coat of paint, the new site promises a few things that, if they're properly implemented, will be legitimately useful. Mayor Mike Rawlings and the 14 council members will have blogs on the site eventually -- Rawlings expressed valid concern Wednesday about the city's responsibility were someone to say something libelous on her soapbox -- and the city's onerous open records process is getting an overhaul.
Given the fight one has to put up to extract public information from the city, we'll believe it when we see it, but Syed says the new site will make it possible to pay record request costs online and to view requests made by others, in order to avoid duplicates.
Content from the city's new communications effort, which is only a little Orwellian, will also be featured on the site.
Update: February 9: Syed just called to emphasize that the open records portal overhaul hasn't happened yet, but is coming in a couple of months.