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Springfield Mayor Ken McClure talks with Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke during the chamber’s Community Leadership Visit.
Photo provided by Jennifer McClure
Springfield Mayor Ken McClure talks with Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke during the chamber’s Community Leadership Visit.

Chamber’s next Leadership Visit takes delegation to Chattanooga

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The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce today returned to Chattanooga, Tennessee, for its 25th annual Community Leadership Visit.

Springfield business, education and public-sector leaders comprise the 80 people on board for the trip. The chamber previously hosted a Leadership Visit to Chattanooga in 1998, according to a news release. Chamber spokeswoman Jennifer McClure said the delegation is in Chattanooga today and tomorrow and will return Saturday.

“We are especially interested in Chattanooga’s emphasis on the importance of outdoors and how they have managed to capitalize on their existing assets to build their community’s character and brand,” chamber board Chairman Doug Neff said in the release. “There’s a lot of energy right now in our community around building on the asset of the region’s natural beauty and bringing that ‘outdoors everywhere’ theme into our planning for the future in a more intentional way.”

Chattanooga, which as of last year had a estimated population of nearly 180,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, also will be examined by the chamber delegation for its regional economic growth and workforce development successes.

The Springfield delegation also plans to study Chattanooga’s municipal broadband implementation and resulting economic impact, as well as its entrepreneurial community.

“Chattanooga’s planning and investments in building a unique sense of place have really paid off for them as a talent attraction and retention tool,” chamber President Matt Morrow said in the release. “It has a growing workforce because it is a vibrant and desirable place to live – and it’s a lesson we hope to draw from in our region as well.”

Past Community Leadership Visits have led to the creation of Springfield’s Community Focus report, Springfield-Branson National Airport expansions and efforts to shore up workforce skills in the area. Past cities visited include Boise, Idaho; Greenville, South Carolina; and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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