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Orlando Sentinel

Orlando’s Web Site In Spanish Wins National Recognition

By Martin E. Comas

November 7, 2002
Copyright © 2002 Orlando Sentinel. All rights reserved. 

It was just more than a year ago that the city of Orlando, recognizing the growing number of Hispanics in the area, launched a Spanish-version of its Web site.

Now, the site has garnered national recognition.

The site, called En Español, was presented in September with a Savvy Award in a competition sponsored by the City-County Communications and Marketing Association.

Recognized in the category of technology services, Internet and World Wide Web, Orlando's site topped 50 entries from municipalities around the nation with populations between 148,000 and 425,000.

En Español was noted for its design, simplicity and its use of technology to reach a diverse community.

"It's kind of exciting," said Maryalicia Johnson, a spokeswoman for Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood. "When Mayor Hood asked us to create a site that was comprehensive, we also wanted it to be a role model for other municipalities."

Launched on June 12, 2001, En Español mirrors the information on the English Web site, giving users dates and times for public meetings, lists of the city's departments and services, emergency numbers and details about economic development programs available to businesses interested in moving here.

It also provides Spanish-speaking tourists and business travelers information about Orlando when planning a trip.

"It's an economic development tool," Johnson said. "We have a business portal on the site that makes it easy for people out of state and out of the country to get business information."

About 250 users access the Web site every day. Of those, about 26 percent are from outside the continental United States, predominantly from Mexico, Puerto Rico and Spain, said Michael McCarthy, the city's Web development coordinator.

The city allocates about $26,000 a year to maintain the site through its office of communications. That includes the salary of a part-time employee.

Richard Lillquist, executive director of City-County Communications and Marketing Association, said municipalities around the country are increasingly adding Spanish-language Web sites.

The annual Savvy awards recognize local government achievements in communications, public sector marketing and in citizen-government relationships. The awards are handed out annually in 11 categories, including publications, most creative activities with the least dollars spent, newsletters and special events.

En Español can be found at

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