Can we widgetize the "top content" area so the user can control that content?

Instead of simple text and hyperlinks, we’d like to “widgetize” the #top-content div (the valuable real estate that appears just below the Featured Slider Info area on the home page) so that the user can control what appears there.

Has anybody made a modification like this? Any recommendations on how to do so?

(For example, we like the way that CUNY Academic Commons displays Who’s Online – )

Thank you.