Chamber plans year of projects
Existing and new projects are on the "to do" list of the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Brenda Day, curator of the Old Castle Museum and director of the Baker University archives, recently took the reins as president of the board. Her vision for the Chamber of Commerce during the next year is shared by a board that includes two new officers. Peach Madl, co-owner of The Lodge, and Krystal Williams, of Hedges Real Estate, are respectively serving as vice president and recording secretary. They join veteran board members John Jackson, also a vice president; Tom Dillon, treasurer, and Sharole Prahl, manager of the chamber office.
"Everybody has ideas and brings them to the table," said Day of the board she is working with.
Day said Madl and Williams will bring fresh thoughts and energy to the chamber's many efforts to promote business and the community. However, one of the board's first priorities is to finish raising the funds for a $12,000 project to construct signs "welcoming" visitors to Baldwin City.
The chamber's next fund-raiser is this weekend. Members will be selling pop and Maple Leaf Festival buttons near the Old Castle Museum during the festival.
Day said the signs project has been led by Jackson, and his years of effort will create visual appeal to the community.
"It's a welcome. It's a very visible welcome to the community," Day said. "That's one of the first things I notice when I hit a town.
"We need to get it done. That's one thing I really want to get finished. Everyone has worked so hard."
Williams hopes the signs also will steer more people downtown.
"You wouldn't believe how many people drive down 56 highway and don't realize there is a downtown," Williams said.
The chamber also hopes to promote local businesses to community members with a "Buy Baldwin" campaign. Chamber members are encouraged to bring what they have to offer as gift ideas whether it be for Christmas or other occasions. Williams said products can range from a savings bond at a local bank or gift items from local shops.
"There are a lot of businesses in town where you can buy gift certificates," Williams added.
With Christmas fast approaching, the chamber is preparing annual activities. A new addition is a night-time parade on Sunday, Dec. 3. The officers don't expect the parade to be big its first year. Madl said The Lodge will be entering a float, as well as Heritage Tractor. The chamber is seeking other parade entries.
"Your float has to be lit with lights," Madl said of the requirement for a parade entry.
The parade is being held in conjunction with the arrival of Santa Claus, the tree lighting ceremony and Baker University's vespers.
The chamber's plans to return Christmas lights to buildings downtown is on hold for at least a year, Day said, as are plans for a brochure promoting the community. Day said she wants to make sure both projects are done right, not hastily.
"It is a big undertaking. We want to have one for next year," she said about the brochure. "The chamber has a lot of ideas; we need people to help us with those ideas."
Other ideas include promoting the area's history and making monthly chamber meetings more educational and inspiring for chamber members.
Day said the chamber took a big step in promoting Baldwin City by attending the Kansas Sampler Festival Oct. 7 and 8 in Ottawa. More than 9,000 people attended the event that offered a sampling of what there is to see and do in Kansas.
The chamber's web site also is advertising the community around the clock. The web address is www. baldwin-city.com.
"I think we have one of the more attractive web sites for a small town," Day said.
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