by Luke Harold

Mel Taylor Media

The Chestnut Hill Community Association will submit a motion tonight to approve the retention of Mel Taylor Media, a hyper-local online media consultant, to develop the neighborhood’s web portal. The proposal will be put before a special meeting of the CHCA’s board of directors who will vote on the motion.

The CHCA would pay Mel Taylor Media $4,750 to oversee “the successful launch and continued success of a web portal,” according to the motion. They would determine a business model for the portal, train staff members and describe the qualifications for a “Portal Manager” to oversee its day-to-day operations.

The CHCA wanted to hire Mel Taylor because of his “amazing reputation” and experience, according to board member Miguel Castaneda, who currently chairs a committee that was formed to study the portal issue.

“He’s worked with companies, he’s worked at successfully giving them the tools they need,” Castaneda said.

He said he believes Taylor can help the Chestnut Hill Local compete with AOL’s Patch and other hyperlocal news sites that have emerged.

“Having an experienced and respected consultant who has done it with similar sized papers made a lot of sense,” Castaneda said.

The community “web portal” has been a subject of debete for the CHCA for more than a year when board member Rob Remus made an initial proposal that created a committee tasked to study the issue.

Remus came up with the proposal for a portal with the consultation of Hill resident Gerald Tracy, a business development manager at Calkins Media.

The CHCA has been divided in terms of who should operate the portal, which has been called a “one-stop online shop for Chestnut Hill. Disagreemets have centered on a number of issues including cost and who should manage the portal — a new manager or existing staff.