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More than $1 million already raised for chamber project

Published 8:59am Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce held a public kick off event for its capital campaign Saturday night at the Wetumpka Civic Center. The campaign, aimed at raising $1.4 million to restore the block of buildings owned by the chamber, began quietly following a feasibility study conducted in November.

“The first few months were about identifying leadership for the campaign and key investors,” said Vanessa Lynch, chamber executive director. “We already have $1,151,500 of our $1.4 million goal committed to date – that’s 82 percent.”

Pledges to the campaign are stretched over a five-year period. Jimmy Stubbs of River Bank and Trust and Dennis Fain of Jackson Thornton and Company are co-chairs of the fundraising campaign. During the past several months the campaign committee contacted possible investors, presenting the overall plan and obtaining pledges of financial support.

“We are thrilled by the overwhelmingly positive response for the community,” said Lynch. “The meetings with investors were inspiring and exciting – and because of that we know we are headed in the right direction.”

Saturday night approximately 200 were in attendance at the public kick off. A special presentation unveiled architectural renderings of the planned project to restore the historic appearance of building on the block, all of which were built in the 1800s.

The plans include expansion of the current chamber office to add a conference room and multi-purpose room. The repurposed areas will offer space for business training workshops, board meetings, members’ use and to host chamber events.

“We also plan to create a business development center as an incubator for start-up businesses,” Lynch said. “That is something the chamber has been looking into and preparing for over the last two years.

“We are confident Wetumpka is poised for incredible growth in our business community and this will enable us to offer programs and benefits to serve those needs as they increase.”

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