Join us for our monthly networking luncheons!
Each month, our members are invited to a FREE networking luncheon on the third Wednesday of each month (except April). The luncheons are from 11:30am to 1:00pm and are held at the Montgomery Event Venue, except in December when we meet at the Elms Hotel and Spa for our holiday luncheon. The luncheons are sponsored by various businesses and organizations in our community. Dollar donations are accepted at the door to benefit a local non-profit.
Each month a business card is drawn for the opportunity to be a featured Chamber Business of the Month, so members are encouraged to bring their business cards and participate. The business selected will be featured on the Chamber website for a month, and will have the chance to talk briefly about their business. Plus, there are door prizes at each luncheon too. An average of 100-125 people attend, so it’s a great opportunity to meet other business people in our community!
The Excelsior Springs School District was the February Chamber Luncheon Sponsor. Attendees were able to see the planning boards for school district improvements that will be on the April 7th ballot as Proposition T, as well as take literature on the No Tax Increase school bond. Mark Bullimore, Excelsior Springs Area Career Center Director, provided details of the 23.5 million increase.
A new Westview Elementary School would provide for community growth in elementary class levels. The Early Childhood Education program would be relocated to the old Westview building after renovations. “This is a huge gap that we are trying to fill,” said Mark. “This will provide better opportunities for students and families.”
Improvements are also planned for Elkhorn and Lewis elementary schools, the Middle School, and the Commons area at the Excelsior Springs High School for improved community event space. Grants tied to the project will help provide FEMA/SEMA certified storm shelters at both the new Westview and Elkhorn schools. Mark said district wide safety and security updates will “keep kids safe, keep teachers safe.”
Why build Westview Elementary first? Mark said that according to a building audit, Westview Elementary was the school with the most issues needing addressed. With these district improvements made, a new Lewis Elementary School building will occur in the next four to five years.
Why a No Tax Increase as opposed to the 0.19 proposed tax increase proposed to voters a year ago? Mark said that the appraised valuation of property in the school district increased, making more money available for debt services. “Whether it passes or not,” Mark said, “your taxes will stay the same.”
Also speaking on behalf of Proposition T was local realtor Jake Simmons. Jake cited several sources for how improvements in our school district will positively impact business persons in their homes, in their businesses and in land values throughout the community as a whole. “Even if you don’t have children in the school system you retain the benefits for resell of your property,” said Jake.
The Excelsior Springs Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the school bond initiative. The pasta luncheon was catered by Ventana Gourmet Grill.
The Mid-Continent Public Library was the featured Business of the Month. Library CEO Steve Potter reported that 1) people still read; 2) we are fixing the driveway; and 3) there is fun at the library.
Steve said 45% of households in the district are using the library and 41% of new cards issued are still in use after the first year. Mid-Continent had 12.5 million transactions in the past year, up 3.8% from the previous year. “There is a 3.8% increase in use of the library due to the new rooms,” Steve said. “People are using their library in a big way!”
Steve gave an update on driveway repairs that will be made later this year. Working with neighboring businesses who share the drive, a plan is being prepared to keep disruption to all at a minimum and hopes that work will be completed by June.
Steve also talked about fun programs for adults and children and the library. He encouraged those present to “let kids see you reading” to provide good modeling. For more about your local library, click here.
The February Member Spotlight featured member LevelUp Kids, Inc., formerly Miles of Smiles. Doug Anderson, Development Director, shared with luncheon attendees that LevelUp Kids has expanded from providing free dental care to also providing free vision care to low-income children in 45 schools in Clay and Platte counties. The portable screening service is made possible by business and organization support. LevelUp Kids is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for giving and for volunteers. For more about the mission, visit the website.
Speaking on behalf of the Chamber, Mike Edwards invited everyone to attend the Chamber’s Reverse Raffle and Dinner. “Magic, Money and Mayhem” is scheduled for April 2 and features Magician Todd Lamanske, a $3,000 grand prize and over $5,000 in prizes and cash. Only 200 seats are available for the event. To purchase your ticket now, click here.