Adopt-A-Hydrant taps into Minnesota’s civic hackers


Adopt A Hydrant Twin Cities

A new special interest group called Open Twin Cities is  forming to connect peer hackers to civic purpose in Minnesota.

Their first project — Adopt-A-Hydrant — allows Minneapolis and St. Paul residents to claim a fire hydrant near them and commit to keeping it clear of snow throughout the winter so that fire fighters will be able to operate more effectively in emergencies.

The idea sprouted up in Boston over a year ago, and since then numerous cities have followed. There are nearly 20,000 local fire hydrants overall in scope and about 20 have been claimed so far within the past month of beta experimentation.

“There’s still a lot of outreach to be done and improvements for the service,” says Open Twin Cities co founder Alan Palazzolo.  “Surprisingly, both the group and Adopt-A-Hydrant have been forming very organically so far through volunteer techies and citizens who want to collaborate.”

Open Twin Cities is described as a group for civic hackers, innovative government employees, and concerned citizens for the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul) metro area. The purpose is to create a better citizen and government collaborative experience in the Twin Cities through technology.

Open Twin Cities is essentially the brand name for the Twin Cities Code for America Brigade. As a former Code for America Fellow, Palazzolo has teamed up with developer William Bushey to champion the cause in Minnesota with both regular meetups and support for relevant events.

“Long term, perhaps the cities would take some interest in directly supporting the site some how,” Palazzolo concludes, suggesting the group has other ideas in store for 2013.

Open Twin Cities is holding their next meetup on January 23rd at Common Roots Cafe.