Ceil Allen
Ceil Allen
The Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC) held its annual membership meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 16. The board president, Dave Huisenga, owner of Habberstad House Bed & Breakfast, shared, "2012 was a challenging and productive year for the LACC. Lanesboro had been recognized regionally and nationally as a model small town, a vibrant community that 'works.' It couldn't be done without the hard work of the chamber staff, the board and the chamber's committees, in cooperation with city staff and other Lanesboro, state and regional organizations. All have worked together to move our strategic plan forward."

The Chamber Board members reported on seven components of the strategic plan, which are as follows:

1. Enhance the value of chamber membership by increasing chamber revenues.

2. Refine and implement tourism marketing strategies.

3. Make Lanesboro more attractive to enhance the Lanesboro experience.

4. Define Lanesboro's long-term role in relation with regional partners.

5. Develop a conference and retreat strategy.

6. Articulate and gain buy-in to the LACC Strategic Plan developing partnerships with stake holders in the city, region and state.

7. Strengthen downtown and city-wide business climate.

The full strategic plan may be viewed at www.lanesboro.com/chamber/resources.

Executive Director Julie Kiehne stated, "We are working to strategically shape our community as stated by our vision statement, 'Lanesboro, the premier small town culture and arts destination in the Midwest.' We recognize the success of our small town has been the result of ongoing community collaborations which engage the entire community and focus upon our assets of the arts and outdoors. This interdependency is what keeps Lanesboro alive and thriving."

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Commonweal Theatre Company and congratulations were extended to Hal Cropp, executive director, and the Commonweal for bringing outstanding, high quality, professional theater to the Lanesboro community.

John Davis, executive director of the Lanesboro Arts Center, shared a video featuring the Lanesboro Arts Center as one of three organizations nationwide to receive a $25,000 InnOvation Award, from Ovation's Inaugural InnOvation Grant Program. The award, presented in partnership with Americans for the Arts, is recognizing Lanesboro Arts Center and the city of Lanesboro for its role in creating innovative art-based programs which are spurring economic development and revenue growth, as well as community revitalization.

Taking a look at the past decade, the members viewed brochures and visitor guides over the past 10 years and discussed the evolution of Lanesboro's branding and promotional materials. The website Lanesboro.com has been completely rebuilt with improved functionality incorporating interactive maps, tour planning, a calendar system and social media. The chamber reported the Lanesboro mobile website has also been built to optimize user friendliness of the latest technology with mobile devices.

Looking at LACC's financial statements over time, the group was pleased to see the growth in lodging tax revenues which doubled over the past 10 years. Likewise, the LACC's overall assets have tripled in the last 10 years.

The Chamber is excited to continue providing high quality services to its members and investing time and dollars back into the community.

Two newly elected directors will be joining the ranks of the chamber board in 2013. They are John Davis and Ceil Allen.