Next time you are at the office take a real good look around. The four people that work in that office have been sharing a very small space for quite a while.
There is about 600 square feet of usable space for four employees, a busy visitors' center, all the equipment -- and space to be the center point for the many coalitions that are affiliated with the Chamber. Not to mention a very active board of directors that needs a space to meet also.
has been on the job as president of the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce about six months now.
“Good change takes time but there are already quite a few projects in the works or being executed,” McElroy said.
McElroy hit the ground running with a huge challenge ahead of her. She does have a great advantage, she said: years of experience. Plus the chamber staff is great, she said.
If you have been down to the Chamber office the past couple of years you notice that there is a great core group of Karen Roach, Mary Ann Barr and Nick Young. They are always there to lend a friendly and knowledgeable hand.
The Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce's current visitors’ center was built in 1935 and completed in 1936. It was built at a time of economic uncertainty, much like today, and funded by the Works Progress Administration with what we call stimulus money today. It has served the town well, but it needs to be tuned up.
Today, construction will begin on a new space for the Chamber office. It will be located right behind the current Chamber/Visitors Center in space provided in the The owners of and H2 are generously making this space available to the chamber in an agreement that was forged during the planning phase of the h2hotel. The chamber leases the new space for one dollar a year.
The new space for the Chamber office will house four offices, a board room and an ADA accessible restroom. The high ceilings and the view of Foss Creek will provide a much better work environment for the staff.
This is phase one of a three-phase capital improvement project. Phase two will address the current location of the chamber office/visitors center. It will be converted into a dedicated visitors center.
Phase three will be an upgrade of the park that is adjacent to the buildings. There will be new walkways and a trellis to tie the separated offices together.
All of the work will be done by nine local contractors; there are opportunities for Healdsburgers to get involved at many levels. The cost of these projects is going to be around $200,000.
To help absorb the cost, the chamber will be providing a new “super level” of membership. It will have a lot of the same extended benefits that the major sponsors enjoy --plus a few perks.
Another chance to get involved is the dedicated brick campaign. You can purchase pavers for the new park to remember loved ones or just to leave your mark. There will be many ways to get involved; stay tuned in for more information on new programs.
The Healdsburg Chamber was first organized in 1907. Civic-minded businessmen were proud of their town and “its grand California spirit.”
The organization’s name has evolved over the years and was originally referred to as the “Business Men’s Association and Chamber of Commerce.” Formally incorporated in 1912, the chamber’s early membership rosters read like a “Who’s Who” of town leaders: Garrett, Rosenberg, Hayes, Cerri, Truitt, Harmeson, Langhart, Imrie and Frampton.
Its early slogan was the somewhat lengthy: “Healdsburg: The Leading Wine, Grape, Hop and Fruit Section of Sonoma County.” That evolved into “The Home of the Triplets: Prunes, Grapes, Hops”--as personified by three healthy, round-cheeked young girls.