EATON — During a meeting on Monday, Feb. 25, Preble County Commissioners discussed bringing the Preble County Economic Development Partnership, Preble County Chamber of Commerce, and Preble County Convention and Visitors Bureau under one roof.
According to Commissioner Rodney Creech, they have been discussing this possibility for the past two years. Commissioner Chris Day suggested moving the offices into the building where the PCDP is currently located.
“The thing is, what do you do with extension? At one of our Workforce Development meetings we got to talking about it, because the chamber is interested and I know CVB is very interested. We looked at where the Extension Office was, because they have the whole side of the building,” Day said. “If we want to try and get them under one roof, what do we do with Extension?”
Creech added, there are two people using 2,400 feet of space, which is mostly storage for the Extension Office.
“What we could do, the Economic Development could take the front office. The back could be a huge meeting room for the county. Pretty much flop sides, is what I’m thinking. It’s not the best thing to do, but short term. [Extension] would pretty much have this entire side, which is smaller, but they would still have their meeting room,” Creech said.
“You could put CVB, Economic Development, and the Chamber in the front corner. Right now, the [Extension] area is so under-utilized and it is mostly storage. There is a possible issue, that we’ve always had, and that’s parking. There are things that we could maybe do down the road to improve that, like an old junk house that needs torn down.”
Commission Clerk Kim Keller asked if they were planning on charging rent to the Chamber of Commerce, which Commissioner Denise Robertson answered in the affirmative. “That’s going to make it a little bit tougher, because it’s based off square footage, and you’re talking about sharing all the amenities,” Keller said.
Creech noted, he never considered charging the Chamber of Commerce rent.
“What are we going to do with the Extension Office? I’m not a big fan of just flipping them over. If we don’t do something to accommodate their needs, that is not the right thing to do,” Day said. “The other thing is, if we’re going to put all three entities together, I don’t want Extension in there because it is a distraction. What is our long term goal?”
Creech added, he believes the Extension Office should be at the fairgrounds, but it makes financial sense to keep the office where it currently is. Day countered, how much would it cost to build them a place at the fairgrounds?
Creech suggested touring the existing building to see what space is available.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH