Community Voice: The next 100 years - the Greater Springfield Partnership

Mike McDorman, president and CEO of the Greater Springfield Partnership.
Mike McDorman, president and CEO of the Greater Springfield Partnership.

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

The year 2020 might be one some of us want to forget. It brought with it many challenges as our chamber team, our members, along with the rest of our community faced an unprecedented pandemic called COVID-19.

As we look back on this past year, it amazes me how our businesses and community members showed incredible resilience and found ways to adapt to the most strenuous work environment. We figured out how to communicate effectively through new platforms like Zoom. We were forced to audit our organizations and think bigger about how we are going to operate in this brave new world with COVID.

Fifteen years ago, the chamber worked to set a “Dream Big” vision in place to guide where the chamber and community could go in the future. Over those years our team has grown and matured greatly in the work we are doing with our community partners in moving Greater Springfield forward.

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Our community is now beginning to realize that dream and is experiencing momentum we have not witnessed in decades. The partnership that has been built and fostered over many years is now helping to land major opportunities in Springfield and Clark County like:

  • 5,000 new jobs and a half billion dollars in investments over the past 7 years.
  • Tens of millions of dollars being invested in Greater Springfield Moving Forward pillar projects since the community vision plan’s start in 2010.
  • A nationally recognized workforce development collaborative that is a major component in bringing new jobs and investments to our area.
  • Revitalizing our downtown with new retail, restaurants, market rate housing, entertainment amenities, and a new city-owned parking garage. We know from our time with Quint Studer how key the rebuilding of our downtown will be in our resurgence. He says talent follows place and investment follows talent. When a community is a great place to live, people will want to move there. It all happens organically.
  • Key gateways and corridor enhancements by city and county that include painted poles, new gateway signage, and key investments in the South Limestone Corridor, our city’s premier corridor leading from I-70 into downtown.

The Greater Springfield Partnership brand we recently launched is arguably the biggest change the chamber has made in our 100-plus-year history in Springfield. It helps better define who we are as an organization working with community partners to help make our region better.

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For us to achieve the goals that will help build a vibrant town with a thriving business community, it can only happen through a strong partnership, and will take all of us working together to succeed.

That is how the chamber has been operating for a long time, pulling different and diverse groups of people together around a common vision seeking to accomplish important goals like:

  • Prime Ohio and Prime Ohio II
  • Nextedge Tech Park
  • National Road Commons
  • Redevelopment of Former IH Site w/ Topre America
  • Formation of Springforward
  • Award Winning Marketing of our Key Destination Assets
  • Community Public Arts Program
  • Launch of The Hub Community News Platform

It has been a tough season for all of us dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, but this pause has given us an opportunity to reflect on who we are and where we are going with all the good things happening in our community. We have accomplished a great deal together to get to this point, and the community will be stronger as we come out of this time because we have done the hard work of building a strong partnership.

Mike McDorman is president and CEO of the Greater Springfield Partnership.

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