Seattle Chamber Supports Tunnel, Accessible Waterfront
A big issue in Seattle's upcoming mayoral and city council elections is what to do about replacing the Alaska Way Viaduct, an elevated freeway that is currently a physical barrier between downtown Seattle and the Puget Sound. The options, dig a tunnel and add transit options, or revamp surface transportation. $2.4 billion in state funding has already been allocated for the tunnel, but campaign rhetoric suggests the battle is not over.
The Greater Seattle Chamber has been actively involved in this issue for a long timehas lent their voice to the debate with a chairman's message that builds that clearly builds the case for the tunnel. The call to action - forward to message to friends, family and colleagues to set the record strait. Here is an excerpt from that message -
" ...instead of getting a world-class waterfront which our citizens can enjoy, the surface option would have given us a super-sized parking lot for cars and trucks on the waterfront, downtown and I-5. Indeed, an independent consultant retained by the city of Seattle concluded that the surface plan would have undermined the livability of downtown and its pedestrian feel by choking up city streets. Our citizens deserve better."
This is a great example of a chamber community leadership in helping maintain focus on long-term priorities - effective transportation and a walkable waterfront - in the face of loud political rhetoric.
Click HERE to read the full message from the Chair of the Seattle Chamber.
Click HERE for more details on this story from the Seattle PI.
Tulsa Takes the Arts to NYC
What can Tulsa show the big apple about arts? Apparently a quite a bit.
The Tulsa Metro Chamber, along with The City of Tulsa, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and the Oklahoma Business Roundtable, sponsored a performance of the Tulsa Ballet in New York City this week during the company's week long run at the Joyce Theater. Before the performance, the Chamber and its partners hosted a reception for corporate site selection consultants and executives of NYC headquartered firms.
Mike Neal, President and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber, said:
"The entire nation is looking at Tulsa. The Tulsa region has one of the lowest costs of doing business in the nation, a low cost of living and a high per capita income. We've been selected as the number one location in America to relocate and during this U.S. recession, now more than ever, it is important to capitalize on opportunities to tell our story.""This event will not only change perceptions of the Tulsa region, but grow interest. It's a new era of economic development, and together with partners like Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the Chamber is making sure the nation knows we are open for business."
Smart Cuts - Rethinking Libraries in Milwaukee
Since their inception by Benjamen Franklin, public libraries have grown into venerable community institutions. Not only do they serve as repositories for the printed word and connection points to the world via the internet, libraries often serve as a venue for civic engagement and cultural enrichment.
Yet, cities, towns and counties across the country are feeling the effects of this economy. Declining property tax revenue and less support from the states have left cities cash strapped and forced to make cuts. And despite all their merits, public libraries are among the budget items on the chopping block.
The story is no different in Milwaukee, WI. They face the same challenges and tough budget decisions that everyone else does. But when talk of closing libraries inevitability hit Milwaukee, the library board began exploring smart cuts and thinking about reorganization. They have come up with 4 proposals that make use of some existing neighborhood libraries but incorporate new concepts like mixed use libraries and express libraries in existing retail space to save money. The proposals could save the city between $500K and $1.1 million per year.
Check out this article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for more details: Board asks public about library options
While it may not ultimately be enough, the entrepreneurial spirit of this public institution is commendable. No one wants to slash public services like libraries, but budgetary realities will force us to explore new ideas and take a close look at how efficiently and effectively our current delivery systems operate. Local chambers can help lead this process by offering suggested based on sound business principles.
Stimulus Spending - Best and Worst
Funding for transportation projects through the Economic Stimulus Package came with the expectation that it would get spent, quickly. Now House Transportation Committee Chairman James Oberstar wants you to know which states are living up to the quick spending expectations and which are not.
According to Oberstar Wyoming is the best of the 50 States, having already spent or committed 76% of allocated stimulus funds. They are followed by New Hampshire and Oklahoma at 64% and 53 % respectively. Worst in the nation are Florida, Hawaii and South Carolina which have spent or committed less than 3% of allocated stimulus funds.
Click to read the article from the Christian Science Monitor
Click to HEREto read Oberstar's letters to the Governors fo the best and worst performing states. The House Transportation Committee website also provides access to state-by-state information on how much stimulus transportation money has been spent.
ACCE Partners with Green Plus Initiative
ACCE announced late last month that it will partner with the North Carolina Research Triangle based Institute for Sustainable Development to offer Green Plus,™ a program to help small businesses succeed while becoming stronger stewards of the environment and their communities.
Businesses participating in Green Plus™ are evaluated on their business, environmental and community engagement practices, receive university-based coaching, access to a national business network, and may be Certified Green Plus™ upon achieving high scores across three categories - People, Planet, and Performance.
Green Plus™ certification is not industry or product specific, but instead is a recognition program that works across sectors for small businesses in any industry. Additional information about the program can be found at www.gogreenplus.org.
Click for the ACCE Press Release.
Click for coverage of this partnership from the Durham, NC Herald-Sun - Green Plus™ program gets big boost
Congratulations Chamber of the Year Award Winners!
Winners of the 2009 ACCE Chamber of the Year Award were named at the the Awards Gala and Dinner at the ACCE Annual Convention held this year in Raleigh, NC. The 2009 Chamber of the Year winners, according to their total revenue category, are:
Columbus (IN) Area Chamber of Commerce
$450,001 - $900,000 Total Revenue Category
Bowling Green (KY) Area Chamber of Commerce
$900,001 - $2,000,000 Total Revenue Category
Nashville (TN) Area Chamber of Commerce
$2,000,001 and up Total Revenue Category
Click for the full ACCE Chamber of the Year Press Release
The following links connect you to local coverage of the ACCE Chamber of the Year Award:
- The Tennessean - Nashville Area Chamber's activism earns honors
- Bowling Green Daily News - "We're No. 1" chants a thrill for BG Area Chamber
- The Republic - Columbus chamber named best in nation
The award is sponsored by the business growth expert Steven S. Little.
What to Do When Twitter is Down?
By: Norma Johnson
VP of Legislative Affairs
Lubbock (TX) Chamber of Comemrce
- Go hang around the membership directorâ€™s office and ask â€œHas anyone quit because of our stance on xyz or endorsement of Joe Blow lately?â€¯ It will be painful for you but cathartic for the membership director. (Gov affairs folks are a giving people).
- Go to the finance directorâ€™s office and ask how much your division lacks being a â€œrevenue generatingâ€¯ division this budget year. (Same pain for you, same cathartic exercise for finance director as above).
- Type up minutes from the last 3 lege affairs committee meetings (you know youâ€™ve been putting them off).
- Go hang out at City Hall whether thereâ€™s a reason for you to be there or not. See how long it takes for rumors to start about what youâ€™re doing down there.
- Go to other Chambersâ€™ sites and see what can be stolen (I mean, â€œmodeledâ€¯) from them.
- Read that 1,000 page health care bill that John Conyers didnâ€™t.
- Send flowers to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison from Tx Gov Rick Perry and to Rick from KBH. (Canâ€™t we all just get along?)
- Finally go to some blog sites and take time to read the entire blog to learn how to blog like Sarah Hubbard! - www.sarahhubbard.com
- Go outside. Listen to the real and original â€œtweetsâ€¯.
- Waste time creating â€œtop thingsâ€¯ lists.
- Go to the Milwaukee CVB site to prepare for ACCE next year!!!
Congratulations to the 2009 ARS Award Winner and Finalists!
Last week at the Regional Strategies Forum in Raleigh, NC, the Alliance for Regional Stewardship presented the Orgnizational Champion Award to the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber for their Agenda 360 regional visioning and action plan. All five award finalists had great programs that are worthy of your review. You can find their award applicatiosn at: www.regionalstewardship.org/awards/index.html
Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Wins Organizational Champion Award for Agenda 360
(Agenda 360 Executive Director Myrita Craig accepts award from ARS Immediate Past Chair Mike Langley)
Organizational Champion Award Finalists
(From Left: Todd Shimkus from the Adirondack Regional Chamber, Shelley Lauten from myregion.org, Myrita Craig from Cincinnatiā€™s Agenda 360, Kristi Smith Wyatt from the Greater Kansas City Chamber, and Mike Metzler from the Santa Ana Business Alliance)
Regions Seek Rail Money
Across the country, regions are teaming up with state departments of transportation to request federal funding of high speed rail projects.
In Virginia state officials will ask for $1.6 billion in stimulus funds to improve existing rail infrastructure along I-95 corridor connecting the Petersburg, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Alexandria and Washington DC. Read more about plan in this Washington Post article.
Florida, too, is seeking federal support for high speed rail. They have a plan to connect Miami with Tampa via Orlando. The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce has voiced support for the plan. Click for the Miami Herald story.
What stimulus projects is your region currently seeking? Has your chamber endorsed potential stimulus funded infrastructure plans? Leave a comment...
Chamber Economic Development Headlines
While we were busy running between workshops, meetings and the exhibit hall floor at the ACCE Convention last week, many chambers of commerce were busy capturing local headlines for their economic development efforts. Two articles focus on organizational merger discussions, a theme brought up several times during the ACCE Convention.
Here are some headlines you may have missed:
Manatee's aggressive new approach to economic development - the new Executive Director of the Manatee Chamber's Economic Development Council plans to leverage open land, available commercial and industrial space, rail connectivity, proximity to Tampa and other assets to boost recruitment efforts.
Greater Oklahoma City Chamber launches economic development site- the OKC Chamber has launched a new web portal to provide in-depth info about their 10 county region to prospective new companies. Check it out at: www.greateroklahomacity.com
Town works with others for industrial development - economic development collaboration plans are underway in the neighboring communities of Smithfield and Selma, North Carolina.
One-stop shop for development a leap forward - This editorial from the Oshkosh Northwestern applauds early merger discussions between economic development organizations in Oshkosh.
Business chamber regroups efforts - The Akron Chamber is not immune to the economic challenges brought this year, but they are still busy with aggressive retention and attraction efforts.