Jacksonville Daily Progress
Editor’s Note: Nathan Jones, the 2012 Chamber of Commerce Chairman of the Board of Directors, penned this letter to Chamber members. The Jacksonville Daily Progress is reprinting Mr. Jones’ letter verbatim.
Dear Chamber Member,
What a fantastic year! “Team Jacksonville”, Together Everyone Achieves More, was our slogan and because of YOU Jacksonville is the ultimate winner. With the commitment of the chamber staff led by Peggy Renfro, our board of directors, committee chairs, and our many volunteers we can take pride in your accomplishments.
· 220 concrete tomatoes which weigh 665 pounds have been sold and delivered! A Tomato Tour brochure highlighting on a rotating basis some of the many painted tomatoes is available where visitors can drive around town and discover their favorite painted tomatoes. Thank you to Randy Gorham, Chamber Treasurer for his inspiring idea and for Amber Mayfield, Chamber staff for managing this ongoing project.
· The Entryways and area under the chamber billboards around town have been adopted and planted beautifying our town! A special thank you to the following organizations which are participating in the adoption; Keep Jacksonville Beautiful, People’s Church, Fellowship Bible Church, The Rotary Club of Jacksonville, The Lions Club of Jacksonville, The Kiwanis Club of Jacksonville and Jacksonville College, which will adopt the area under the replacement billboard to be constructed off of highway 175. Thank you for the City for providing some of the ground cover and for the Fire Department watering the planted areas.
· The Chamber reinstated the Transportation Committee which Kelly Traylor is chairing. This year the committee members helped solicit resolutions of support for the expansion of Highway 79 from Cities, Counties, School Districts, Economic Development Corporations and Chambers along the highway 79 corridor. Good news the hard work and teamwork paid off, a few months ago, Tx DOT approved releasing approximately $41mm for the expansion of Highway 79 to 4 lanes from Palestine to the Trinity River. The committee is presently working on expansion of the Highway 69 bottleneck at Wells which will aid the State as a hurricane relief route.
· Downtown Jacksonville’s trashcans were repainted and some of their benches due to the cooperation and teamwork from Sherwin Williams providing the paint, The FFA students from JISD who painted downtown green, Keep Jacksonville Beautiful and The Chamber.
· The City, JISD and Chamber have come together for construction of new trash cans to be strategically placed in the Downtown area. JISD ICT Department, led by instructor Kyle Locke with his students are currently building 5 new trash receptacles at a bargain price of $200 each that Mo Raissi and The City have agreed to cover the $1,000 cost. This will be a recurring project as each year the students build 5 new trash cans for our town.
· The Taste of Jacksonville, chaired by Breezy Lake Wolfe, was a raving success generating over $4,200 this year with part of the proceeds donated to The Jacksonville Fire Department for the lighting of Hazel Tilton Park, which was lighted last week in a holiday event after the parade. Many restaurants were featured, cooking demonstrations; the Aztec Dancers provided lively entertainment which provided a fun filled event. Thank you to Robin Butt for providing our free music that evening.
· The Tomato Fest in its 28th year, chaired by Robin Butt, continues to grow each year and this year was no exception. Attendees had over 2 City blocks to explore, expanding from 1 block holding over 200 vendors.
· The chamber is investing in marketing for chamber members. A new and improved web site which is more user-friendly promotes your business with marketing opportunities. Please go to www.JacksonvilleTexas.com and check out the new look and features. This is another great benefit of being a chamber member. Find HOT Deals, job opportunities and events hosted by Chamber members.
· A big heart-felt thank you to the Chamber Executive Committee – Nancy Washburn – Community Development, Pam Anderson-Education Development, Kathleen Stanfill – Membership Development, Robin Butt – Tourism Development, Randy Gorham-Treasurer, Brett Brewer – Chairman Elect of the Board and Joan Malone-Immediate Past Chairwoman. These individual’s leadership and volunteer commitment have been the backbone of our chamber this year insuring that our program of work is accomplished.
· Thank you to Harry’s Building Materials for not only delivering over 220 concrete tomatoes, but for also donating the delivery fees for the tomatoes which totaled $2,500 back to the Adopt-A-School. Due to their donation, additional funding for scholarships will be available to Chamber members, the Job Shadowing event, an essay contest and other needs of the school district are also possible.
· 2 Movie in the Park events – generously sponsored by Bill McRae Ford. Thank you to Nancy Washburn and Joan Malone for their leadership with this project. Also a special thank you to Central Baptist Church for making the church facility available for the movie viewing.
· A Jacksonville treasure is Love’s Lookout Visitor Center which is visited by thousands each month. 24 volunteers welcome and provide local information promoting our community daily. This is the crown jewel of the chamber with the selfless dedication of the Love’s Lookout volunteers sharing with visitors the rich heritage of our area.
· July was a hit as Jacksonville hosted a State Baseball Tournament. The Chamber staff secured things to do for the players and their families, accommodation information with ‘no vacancy’ for our local hotels was due to the 26 teams that visited our town to compete for the state championship. Another teamwork effort between the Baseball Assn., City and Chamber.
· This year Street Sweets was improved with the leadership of Debbie Kerzee and Bobbie Durham. The event was moved to a controlled access by The Norman Center for a safer environment and to cater to younger trick or treaters. The business community was represented at stations and the children made the circuit while enjoying Barney.
· The Chamber participated in the “Chop Off” event benefiting the Lon Morris College Hospitality Program. I want to thank my wife Lisa for being a good sport and joining me by representing the Chamber team and for also winning the competition that evening.
· This year’s Christmas parade was both the largest in attendance and parade entries in recent years. Thank you to Melody Walters parade chairman, the Jacksonville Police Department, The City of Jacksonville and The Citizens Police Academy for their assistance with the parade.
This year TEAM Jacksonville, Together Everyone Achieves More has been the bedrock of our success as The Chamber, City, County, JISD, the countless volunteers and other local organizations which have come together to make a difference. Jacksonville is a wonderful place to call home, conduct business, vacation and or retire. The sky is the limit when we all come together to work on opportunities and plan for the future. I am asking everyone to recommit themselves in 2013 and support Brett Brewer and Peggy Renfro and her staff next year as they build on your successes to promote our town. It has been my honor to be your Chairman this year.