EATON – A collaborative office space for economic development, business, and visitor resources which was a long time in the making became a reality last month. On Friday, Dec. 17, county, state and local officials celebrated with a ribbon cutting and open house at the newly renovated 122 W. Decatur Street location of the Preble County Chamber of Commerce, PC Development Partnership and PC Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The extensive renovation project on the facility began in July, and was part of a plan to bring the Chamber, the PCDP and the PCCVB under one roof for a centralized location to better serve Preble County’s business community, as well as its visitors.
“I just want to thank you all for being here today because this is a long time coming — and longer than just me. I’ve been here almost seven years, and this has been talked about since before I came on board,” PCDP Economic Development Director Latanza said.
“I thank the county for housing us as long as they have, from 2010, and and all the time and money that you guys have put into thePartnership and the in-kind space — and for letting us bring some of the furniture here. It helped us a lot,” Latanza continued. “Craig, (Kinyon, President & CEO of Reid Health and PCDP Treasurer) thank you and Reid so much for the renovations of this space and the type of lease that they’re giving us. Everything about this has just fallen into place perfectly. I appreciate our investors, our Chamber members. The community is going to love this because they won’t have to be sent from this building to another building a mile away. It’s going to be really better community service. Having the CVB presence with us is going to be just an amazing opportunity for this whole county.”
During the office renovation, the PC Chamber’s day-to-day office operations were relocated to the second floor of LCNB’s downtown Eaton location.
“We also want to thank LCNB bank because they gave the Chamber temporary quarters and were so generous with everything,” PC Chamber Executive Director Karen Moss said. “They were so kind to us, gave us anything we needed and even offered to let us bring some furniture with us and everything. So LCNB Bank was a great community partner for that as well.”
Moss also thanked the PCDP. “You won’t brag on yourself, but the Development Partnership put a significant amount of money into this renovation,” she said.
“Many of the investors are in this room, so we really appreciate you,” Latanza said “Because it was an expensive change, but the renovation needed to happen to make it more customer friendly.”
“The CVB really appreciates having a place where we can give our materials out,” PCCVB President Stephanie Garrett said. “You know, that’s part of the quality of life when somebody is moving in or businesses are moving to the area. They want to know what we’ve got, what’s available — and we’re tickled to be here and have a space to do that.”
“I want to say it’s a great turnout,” 2022 PC Chamber Chair-Elect Jason Troutwine said. “Those of you who were here before the transformation of this space, and now see it — it looks terrific. Thanks again to Reid Health. But I also want to talk about the vision to be able to have both of these groups together. The collaboration that I see in Preble County, it’s very impressive. All the groups that come together just for a greater good — that doesn’t happen everywhere. And it happened here, and I think it really speaks volumes about Karen, Leslie (Collins, former Chamber Executive Director and PCCVB Board Treasurer,) Brenda and the Partnership, and the Chamber boards kind of coming together. So thank you all.”
“I would echo everything that’s been said so far,” Kinyon said. “I think the space looks great. You all worked to design this and create the final finishes and so forth. And I think it’s just outstanding. And I think more importantly, that you now have a collaboration with the Partnership and also the Chamber and I think that’s very effective for people who are interested in looking at the county and considering whether or not to make this their new home.”
PC Chamber and PCDP Past Chair Jeff Sewert also thanked Kinyon. “I just want to applaud Craig, for his leadership in the Partnership and to make this come to fruition,” he said.
Eaton City Manager and PCDP and CVB Board member Brad Collins thanked Reid and all the PCDP investors for their efforts.
State Rep. Rodney Creech was also in attendance. Creech worked to push the project forward while serving as a Preble County Commissioner.
“I’m glad to see this finally happen. I think it’s something that we talked about for way too long and there were a lot of roadblocks,” he said. “I’m glad the roadblocks are no longer.”
“We’re seeing our community work together. You know 10 years ago, a Brad Collins probably wouldn’t have been working with a Jeff Sewert,” Creech continued. “And to see what this Partnership has done. It’s brought our community together. We’re working hand in hand. We work with each other, we’re not working against each other. And it’s all because of the dedication and leadership from everybody in this room. I’m amazed, and I think many, many communities would look at us and go ‘How are you guys getting along?’ I think you know, most cities don’t get along with villages and vice versa. It’s amazing what we do here and I can’t thank you all enough.”
“This is amazing compared to what it was. I’m happy to be here and happy to continue to work with Karen and the Chamber,” longtime PC Chamber Administrative Assistant Virginia Lindsey said.
“And we need to thank Leslie (Collins) for all her work prior to make this happen,” Garrett added.
“I’ve got nothing,” Collins, who left the role of Chamber Executive Director in August to become the City of Eaton’s Community Development Specialist, said jokingly before noting. “This is a wonderful addition for the City of Eaton.”
“For over a decade, officials have discussed this sort of combined facility, and now it will become a reality, giving Preble County a ‘Business Resource and Visitor Center’ which is a true one-stop-shop,” Collins said in a press release back in July.
The project was made possible through the support and investments of Reid Health and the PCDP Board of Trustees.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr.