Christa Frause and Robert Scott love Fort Mill, and they want to make it easier for others who love the area to communicate and coordinate events.
The pair set up a new Web site in March, www.ilovefortmill.com, to do just that.
"My partner, Robert (Scott) came up with the idea as a way to bring the community together," Frause said. "We wanted to have a place for them to ask questions and talk about what's here."
The Web site started with a forum and grew from there. Now it includes an interactive calendar where users can post upcoming events, a history page for posting information on the still evolving story of Fort Mill, even a link exchange where local businesses can buy advertising space. With about 60 users in March, ILoveFortMill.com has grown roughly 30 percent each month, Scott said.
"The first month we had 1,000 hits, and it's been growing ever since," Frause said. "We have around 300-400 new users each month."
Their goal is to run the site as a self-supporting nonprofit. Advertising rates are currently paying for the site's overhead and operating costs, and may eventually pay a salary to Scott, Frause and their other employee. The team has developed several types of advertising tied to the site, including a discounts page that displays coupons and special offers from local businesses.
"We call it the new way to phone book," Frause said.
Membership is free, and joining allows residents to post events on the calendar and to respond to forum posts, among other features.
"We've worked on community events, like we plugged Alex's Lemonade Stand this year," Frause said. "We're doing everything we can to bring the community together."
The site is also partnering with the Humane Society of York County to provide funding, supplies and people willing to adopt pets. And Frause wants to work with groups like Move Fort Mill Forward in the future to promote the revitalization of downtown.
Scott is a longtime Fort Mill resident, while Frause is a relative newcomer. Like the site did for them, Frause and Scott want ILoveFortMill.com to bring together the native and new members of the community together.
"Everyone that lives here has at least one thing in common," Scott said. "They all love Fort Mill."