Economic Development News

Chamber board focuses on JCMOStrategy
Published: Friday, November 22, 2019
By: Randy Allen

During the Chamber Board’s fall retreat held at the LINC in Jefferson City on October 22nd, 30 board members met to elect chamber board officers for 2020.

Darren Heckman, High Five Communications was elected Chairman, Jeff Davidson of Modern-Litho Print Co. was elected Chair-Elect, Paula Benne of C&S Business Services was elected Treasurer and Gaspare Calvaruso of Capital Region Medical Center was selected as Treasurer-Elect. In addition, six new board members took the oath of office for their three-year terms.

During the remainder of the board retreat, the board held three 90-minute focus group sessions to provide feedback to the consultant, Market Street Services for a Community and Economic Development Strategy. A member of the consultant team, Ranada Robinson, facilitated these discussions and feedback sessions focused on several themes including growth, education, workforce, and quality of place.  From these general topics, several assets and obstacles were identified and discussed.

Some of the themes the board members discussed echoed in some broad categories proposed by the facilitator:

Assets

We Have:

  • A strong sense of community
  • A community that is very giving
  • Many organizational volunteers
  • State government
  • A great core of mid-sized businesses that support the community
  • An extraordinary park system
  • A community that is stable and secure
  • A central location in Missouri and the US
  • A priority on education
  • A community that is family-oriented
  • Access to quality higher education
  • Low unemployment rates

Obstacles

We Are Challenged by:

  • Resistance to change
  • Too much misinformation and dealing with feelings versus facts.
  • A lack of population growth in the City and County.
  • A lack of accessible capital to fund growth
  • A lack of things to do for families and young people
  • Our inability to retain and attract young people
  • The increase in our median age
  • Fear of success/growth leading to more traffic, crime and congestion.
  • Poverty in public schools (60% free and reduced lunch)
  • Lack of available workforce (unemployment rate less than 2%)
  • Lack of high-quality broadband in many areas

In addition, Ranada asked the group to identify one thing they would like to see 20-years from now in the year 2039. Some of these comments she heard were as follows:

  • Missouri River Port adjacent to a robust industrial park
  • Broadband access everywhere
  • 20 or more business startups that have grown to 50 or more employees
  • A population in the
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