Greenville can teach us how to create a breakthrough for our community | Opinion

From the Tallahassee Democrat

Tallahassee is on the verge of something big. In only five years, our community will celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of becoming the capital city of Florida (you can follow the countdown at Two hundred years is a long time and across those two centuries, our community has never stopped evolving.

As we prepare for that milestone, it is imperative we focus on what kind of community we should be in the new century ahead. We have a great deal of momentum, but there are still many plans that need to be made.

In order for our community to fulfill our highest ambitions we must strive to create a unified vision for the future. The Chamber is committed to engaging with stakeholders from all across Tallahassee and Leon County to make that happen.

The next chapter of Tallahassee’s history is a blank page and we as citizens, leaders, business owners and entrepreneurs have an opportunity to write it however we see fit. The time to chart our course is now, and in order to be successful, Tallahassee must be successful as a whole. This is our call to work together.

Over the past decade, the Chamber has conducted community leadership trips to a number of cities that are models for how to grow and create prosperity. This year we travel to Greenville, South Carolina, to study a new story.

The purpose of these trips has been to discover the ways in which successful cities come together to create economic vitality. We have great opportunities ahead of us, but we still have much to learn if we are to maximize our potential.

Greenville offers a blueprint for how a community can break through the crowded marketplace of mid-size cities competing for opportunity. What Greenville is great at is planning and acting on strategic advantages. Greenville has made substantial investments in creating a thriving downtown, connecting research to targeted industries, and turning its airport into a serious economic asset. They also have built an incredibly healthy business environment by declaring bold intentions for growth and preserving the proper role of government. There is a lot for us to learn in a city like that.

The Chamber recognizes that with each trip we take there is also opportunity for us to learn as an organization. How we engage with the community around us matters. Our trip to Greenville will include a number of new faces and emerging leaders. We are proud to have assembled a diverse roster of leaders including representation from both the Capital City Chamber and Big Bend Minority Chamber. If we are to be successful in creating a great leap forward for Tallahassee, we will all have to commit to working together. I see Greenville as an important step in that direction.

The Chamber’s mission is to be the catalyst for local business growth in the greater Tallahassee area. Every day, the Chamber Board of Directors and the members of our organization are working to see our community advance.

A growing city is good for everyone. More jobs — good jobs — give people hope for a better future. Our aim is to enhance the trajectory of the local economy for the benefit of both businesses and people.

The key to our shared success is the full engagement of our members and other community stakeholders. Our trip to Greenville serves as an example of that.