Chamber’s goals: 700 jobs, $70M investments

Springfield business leaders outline hopes for 2012.

Their goals were outlined in the Greater Springfield Moving Forward report released at the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting Thursday night at Kuss Auditorium.

Community Improvement Corporation of Springfield and Clark County officials say the group directly and indirectly brought $70.5 million in local business investment and created 700 new jobs and retained 2,200 more in the area in 2011.

Also, CIC began the design phase of the $7.5 million Prime Ohio II industrial park officials expect will eventually bring more than 1,000 jobs and an estimated $1 million annual income tax revenue to the city.

The goal for 2012 is to complete the park’s design and engineering phases and begin construction, officials said.

CIC is just one piece of the Greater Springfield Moving Forward campaign — a group of city, county and local business and labor leaders who put their heads together nearly two years ago to move Springfield forward.

“You have heard me say before that dreams are hard work, but we are beginning to see some of the fruits of our labor,” Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Michael McDorman told the audience.

Moving Forward’s plan over the next three to six years is to create 2,300 new jobs and retain at least 4,500 more, while attracting $175 million in new investment in the area, officials said Thursday.

As “part of having economic development in this community, we have to make sure that all of the stars are aligned,” said Jim Lagos, a Springfield lawyer and proponent for downtown development in his report on Job and Job Readiness.

Job and job readiness is one of five Moving Forward pillar groups that aim to move their respective areas forward in synergy with the others.

Spearheaded by the chamber, Moving Forward is also focusing on the downtown development, corridors and gateways, student achievement and parks and green spaces pillars, among other initiatives.

“Whether it is in our business endeavors or in helping move the Greater Springfield community forward, we need to realize that this is going to be a long hard race,” McDorman said. “However, we need to keep the vision in front of us and continue to press on toward the goal and not stop until we cross the finish line and win the prize.”

The meeting followed an afternoon business expo with 37 local business that displayed their wares and services and the Taste:Springfield culinary event, featuring about a dozen local restaurants.

The chamber also presented its annual awards:

• Richard L. Kuss Lifetime Achievement to former U.S. Rep. Dave Hobson.

• Business of the Year to Springfield Regional Medical Center.

• Small Business of the Year to The Cerium Group.

• Ambassador of the Year to Jennifer Price.

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