It has been my experience that companies become members of their local chambers of commerce for three main reasons; to promote their businesses, because it is the civic thing to do and to engage in chamber activities and community events. The Englewood-Cape Haze Area Chamber of Commerce does a pretty good job of fulfilling these needs; however, the role of the Chamber has expanded to address socioeconomic concerns and social needs.
Since taking on the role of the interim executive director in May, one of my goals has been to modify the mission of the Chamber to make it a major influencer in the greater Englewood community. This includes taking a more active role in working with local community leaders, working closely with the county commissioners developing programs for economic development and business incubation and to generally create what I call “positive chaos.” Taking on these new roles also requires taking a stand on certain issues and breaking new ground in the development of new programs that challenge the status quo. I have been working with Jamie Biller, who works for the Gallina Companies, who owns and is the on-site property manager of the Woodmere Luxury Apartment Community in Venice and are now developing a 72-unit luxury apartment in Englewood called Lemon Bay Apartments. These units will be located north of Christ Lutheran Church on State Road 776 and just south of Tangerine Woods. Some residents that live in Tangerine Woods and those in gated communities adjacent to this area are very concerned about the development of these apartments. I met with Jamie Biller seven weeks ago and told him the Chamber would support the new development and work with the community to ensure this project became a reality. I spoke on behalf of the Gallina Companies at one of their “Town Hall” type meetings a few weeks ago where residents could ask questions and voice their opinions about the new project. A vocal minority are against the new development but the Englewood community needs these types of units to provide housing for young professionals who want to live in Englewood. We believe this project will become a reality and the Chamber will continue to work with the county on behalf of the Gallina Companies.
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