The Chamber of Commerce often partners with other local community and business-based organizations to work on initiatives that are important to the area.
A few of these efforts are highlighted below.
Community Development with Economic Impact Programs
As a champion for the Lima/Allen County community, the Chamber has partnered with the Allen Economic Development Group and the Lima/Allen County Convention and Visitors Bureau to develop a unique community marketing tool. www.WeAreRealAmerican.com has been developed to showcase the strength of businesses, quality of life, and abundant resources our region offers to residents, visitors, and businesses. The website serves so highlight the “Faces and Places” of Lima/Allen County.
Is a collaborative effort between the Allen Economic Development Group, Chamber of Commerce, Area Businesses, City/County Government, Education and Non-profits working together to develop a framework to drive better results in education and workforce development so every individual can be prepared to enter the workforce. Link Lima also brings together local career pathways, the STRIVE Initiative – working towards developing careers in manufacturing/business and the skilled trades, as well as the College Access program – preparing students for their next educational step outside of high school, increasing access to post-secondary education, aiding in ACT Prep, and awarding scholarships to eligible students.
Activate Allen County
The Chamber is working on several initiatives with Activate Allen County. Activate Allen County is a public health initiative committed to reducing obesity and smoking in Lima and Allen County by promoting healthy eating, active living, and a tobacco-free lifestyle. In addition to educating and inspiring people to make healthy choices, Activate Allen County educates people about the relationship between policy, environment and community design to their health and well-being. Activate Allen County focuses on changes that remove barriers and increase access to healthy behaviors. Working in partnership with health initiatives across the County and State, Activate Allen County aims to provide everyone living in Allen County access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity in places that they live, work, worship, learn and play.
The Chamber’s Agri-Business Committee worked with Downtown Lima and the Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District to re-establish the Farmers Market in Downtown Lima. The Chamber works collaboratively with Downtown Lima on the goals of having a vibrant Downtown through working with business and participation with their economic restructuring, business enhancement, and downtown property managers committees.
Community Branding Initiative
The Chamber of Commerce worked side-by-side with several organizations, business leaders and City Officials, along with North Star Destination Strategies to develop a cohesive, community brand. The branding effort will in turn help to unify our region and make Lima/Allen County a sought-after destination for work and play. The theme of Real American Strength was developed after countless hours, meetings, surveys, and community polls. This theme notes that we are more than a city or county, we are a place that is more than the simple sum of all its’ people and places. It personifies our Midwestern work ethic and values as well as our productivity, culture, and quality of life. The community brand is now visible throughout the county on the I-75 Corridor, billboards, buses and in local businesses as many have pledged to adopt the brand and incorporate it into their existing marketing materials. With the Allen County Visionaries support, we have been able to hire a Brand Manager to further the usage of the brand.
Multiple Building Departments
The Lima Chamber facilitated the continuation of having one building department in the county. The Chamber worked with the Townships and the City of Lima along with area member contractors to address issues and concerns and to develop a more functional building department within the City of Lima. The Allen County Building Advisory Committee was formed with representatives from the townships, commissioners, businessmen, design/engineers and area contractors with the following mission to provide oversight and input on how the community views the Building Department’s customer service and share the dialogue on continued improvements on codes and standards.
Sustainable Communities Initiative
The Chamber is an active participant in the Allen County Sustainable Communities Initiative which mission is to utilize available resources in an efficient way to improve the quality of life for residents of Allen County through comprehensive community collaboration. The vision for this initiative is to create a sustainable environment that promotes and supports the health and well-being of the community through continued awareness, collaborative alignment, and comprehensive action. Partnering with the Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission, the initiative has utilized the Allen County 2020 community vision goals to establish a sustainability website that will have website indicators reflecting the progress of our community toward achieving the goals for each of the sustainability areas.
Legislative Forums, Debates, and Actions
The mission is to develop an awareness and understanding of emerging local, state and federal issues that could cause a change in the business/quality of life climate; develop a position to inform members and the community; and, when advisable, develop a strategy to resolve the issue. Lobbied against decreasing the Bureau of Workers Compensation Group Rating Discount, against Minimum Wage increases, Card Check, Cap & Trade, discussed Allen County Sales Tax, Issue 2, and other legislation impacting business. Lobbied for the High-Speed Rail Study and continued to support the Downtown Lima Corridor Project. Organized targeted legislative topical forums, receptions, debates, and breakfasts. Annually attend legislative meetings with state legislative representatives at the Ohio Capital to discuss significant Lima/Allen County issues. Provide legislative updates twice a month in the legislative Advocacy e- report, periodically for the Wake, Rattle and Roll event and the Chamber’s monthly news conference.
Walter C. Potts Entrepreneur Center
The Chamber focuses on identifying and advancing opportunities to support the economic development of small and minority business. As a part of this focus there became a need for collaboration with the Rhodes State College Small Business Development Center, Diversified Management, the City of Lima, Allen County Commissioners, AEDG, educational institutions, and business leaders, to develop the Walter C. Potts Entrepreneur Center. The Center’s mission is to provide the education necessary to support and sustain a small and/or minority business; enabling the community to create jobs, provide economic stability and enhance the quality of life by encouraging small and minority business to stay, invest, and participate in the Lima/Allen County community. Recently a partnership was formed with the Northwest Ohio Minority Business Assistance Center through the University of Toledo to provide additional services to minority and women-owned businesses. The Northwest Ohio Minority Business Assistance Center provides free one-on-one consulting, assistance completing federal, state, and local certification applications, and referrals for financial assistance programs to minority and underutilized businesses in the 17 counties of Northwest Ohio.
Center for Business Services
One of the Chamber’s primary goals was to secure a facility, in collaboration with the Allen Economic Development Group, Lima-Allen County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, Downtown Lima, Inc and Allen Lima Leadership which would fully meet the current and future needs of each organization. After seeking the input of all partners, the Chamber Foundation purchased the historic Schnorf and Wagner buildings adjacent/connected to the Veterans’ Memorial Civic and Convention Center. The collective agencies believed it best suited the various organizations to remain under one roof. This arrangement benefits all the organizations and will create a “one-stop shop” Center for Business Services for the community.
Lima Auto Task Force
Over three years ago, Mayor David Berger brought together government, business, labor, and others to form the Lima Auto Task Force. The Chamber President has been an active participant in the meetings and events of the organization. The Task Force has led many initiatives benefiting the auto-related companies in the region. The Task Force was called out in the October 2009 Report of the “Joint Select Committee on the Impact of the Changing Automobile Industry in Ohio” as a model for other communities to follow.
Task Force Lima
Task Force L.I.M.A. was reconstituted by Mayor David Berger in March of 2011 in response to a potential three-year gap in the production of the Abrams main battle tank as well as the threatened cancellation of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (JSMC). The Task Force is a coalition of local elected officials, economic development and business associations including the Chamber, labor organizations, media, and other community leadership, which have assembled in order to communicate with state and federal officials about the strategic importance of the JSMC, its unique and essential manufacturing capabilities, and its portfolio of world-class armored vehicles and products.