Ron Cohen, a former condo board president at the 40-story Oro in downtown Brooklyn, had a community problem: There wasn’t one. The condo has tons of amenities, terrific views, and a building-wide communication system used mainly to let residents know about packages waiting for them at the front desk, but it didn’t have a system where owners could communicate with each other. So the board created a Google Group for Oro owners.
Google Groups, a free service, is now used as the residents-only forum. Members have to be invited, and Cohen describes it as “a second communication vehicle. People can talk to with each other about problems, about things they like, about events that are going on downtown and in our community, and about the immediate area.”
The condominium board has its own system for official business, but uses Google Groups to send out notices before board meetings, inviting residents to send in issues they’d like the board to address. After each meeting, the board posts a summary of what happened in the building’s Group.
The manager, the super and the staff don’t have access to what’s being said on Google Groups, explains Cohen. “It is for the community. Although not 100 percent of the building has joined, the vast majority has."
Interested in setting up your own building group? Here are two videos to show you how.
Adapted from "Talk to Me" sidebar "A Community Portal" by Tom Soter (Habitat, May 2014)
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