Pa. borough to pilot community portal

Unisys Corp. has chosen West Chester, Pa., for a community Internet portal

pilot project that aims to bring together citizens, businesses and government

on one site.

Unisys, based in nearby Blue Bell, Pa., will spend about $30 million

to set up the World Wide Web portal for West Chester and the surrounding

townships East Bradford, East and West Goshen, Thornbury, Westtown and West


"The idea is that if they go to [any page on the site], they can enter

the borough of West Chester as a whole, accessing the government and business

community," said Laura Pitt, administrative assistant for the borough manager

and the designer of West Chester's current Web site.

Unisys will host the main site and offer to host sites for businesses

and other organizations, charging monthly fees. The company will also establish

a "cybercafe," an office where people can have access to the portal.

Pitt said the portal will be free to everyone for general access, but

for those who want additional services, such as a customized site or advanced

e-commerce transactions, there may be fees. Pitt said Unisys is considering

charging people a monthly $2 to $5 fee, or charging nothing for a year to

try to build excitement about the site.

Mary Ann Zaborowski, vice president and general manager of the program

for Unisys, said the company chose West Chester because they could test

the concept in the company's backyard and then branch out.

"This is the first of many incubator programs, where we're bringing

businesses and government together," Zaborowski said.


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