Our nation and our state are currently undergoing a sea of economic change. However, despite the troubles in the state and nation, our local area businesses are swimming against the tide and continue to show growth and vitality.
Local sales tax receipts are not only increasing, but are at all-time highs. Building permits are up. Boardings at the airport have steadily increased. Major construction of the Keystone, Community Hospital, the Army Reserve/National Guard building, McCook Elementary School and the impending construction of the City Central Offices, MCC Activity Center and the renovation of the Norris Band Shell, the YMCA and the Fox Theater all generate many first, second and third rounds of economic stimuli to our area, which has added to employment opportunities as well as local business responding with gusto to the construction needs in both materials and services.
As a past president of the McCook Chamber and past board member of the McCook Economic Development Corp., I know firsthand the challenges both these groups have faced in recruiting members, securing financial support and demonstrating relevance to our entire community. It has been a bit of a "Catch 22" in that businesses and individuals have been reluctant to join those groups or provide financial support until they are convinced the chamber and MEDC have something of value to offer them. However, with small membership and limited revenue from "dues," it has meant that those groups are limited as to what is possible to provide to the community.
I believe the climate in McCook is slowly changing and returning to the positive "can do" attitude of our forefathers. The attitude of that is if something needs done, it is we that need to do it -- that we need to take responsibility for our own community's destiny.
The Chamber of Commerce has a long history of stretching the dollars available to be the voice of McCook business, to be a source of information, guidance and support for local business and to provide activities that all in our area enjoy.
With the annual Chamber of Commerce banquet scheduled for Feb. 5, now is a prime opportunity for local businesses to recommit to membership and for businesses that are not members to join. I urge all current members to not only participate and attend the banquet, but to invite nonmembers to attend with you, talk to them about the benefits of the chamber, and enjoy the evening with friends.
I urge all businesses in McCook to support the chamber in its endeavors and all the expertise it can offer. At the end of the day, it is your chamber, and it can only be as strong as your support allows it to be. For tickets, contact the chamber at (308) 345-3200. Cora and I hope to see you at the banquet.