Discover Cass CountyPublished 8:53am Thursday, August 21, 2014
New website promotes area businesses, attractions
For many residents of Cass County, the abundance of lakes, parks and unique businesses and attractions peppering the 508 square mile area is hardly news.
However, the people living outside the county may not know everything that it has to offer visitors.
Earlier this year, two new websites were launched to help alleviate this problem: DiscoverCassCounty.com and CassCountyBusiness.com. The brainchild of Cassopolis’ Laurel Ward, the pair of sites offers information on outdoor recreation, local events, county history, and an extensive business directory.
“Our goal is to spread the word about all things there are to do and see in Cass County,” Ward said.
Ward, the owner of web design company Diamond eVentures, has spent the last year creating the websites with the assistance of several local organizations, including the Cassopolis, Edwardsburg and Dowagiac chambers of commerce, as well from area residents.
The project was born nearly two years during out a conversation between Ward and Cass County Road Commissioner Pete Fournier, she said.
“He wanted to create a website for the parks and historical sites throughout the county,” Ward said. “As we talked about it, the project kind of grew into something more, to include shopping, entertainment, and places to stay and eat.”
In July of 2013, Ward presented the idea to Cass County Board of Commissioners, who approved a partnership between her company and the county to help complete the project. Although that agreement with the county was mutually dissolved earlier this summer, she decided she would continue to operate the site by herself and a committee dedicated to managing the pages.
“I feel really invested in this project,” Ward said. “I love this community and would like to see it grow.”
Several county officials have also continued to support the websites, Ward said.
“Scott Wyman, the director of the parks department, is very enthusiastic about it, since it will help bring more traffic to the parks and help increase their revenues, which will allow them to make more improvements,” Ward said.
One of the key focuses visitors will notice is on the recreational activities that Cass County offers, including snowmobiling, camping and boating.
“We are an outdoor recreational heaven, really,” Ward said. “We have things for visitors to do all year.”
Ward also included a number of features that make the sites easy to navigate on mobile phones and tablet devices, which can take advantage of maps and directions for any of the locations listed.
Besides continuing to expand the scope of the directory, events calendar and other existing features, Ward is hoping to add video content, photography contests, and other rich media over the next few months, she said.
“It’s been such as big project, and now that it’s finally off the ground it has been so exciting for me and our committee,” Ward said.
Visitors looking to submit information for the event calendar or with general questions are encouraged to use the site’s “contact us” section.