Chamber touts growth

Annual report cites return on city, county investment

According to the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, both Jefferson City and Cole County saw an “anticipated economic return” of more than $486,000 in 2013.

On Monday, the chamber presented its annual report to the Cole County Commission in the morning and the Jefferson City Council in the evening, both entities that contract with the chamber for economic development. The chamber receives $185,000 from the city and $150,000 from the county for economic development services.

Randy Allen, chamber president and CEO, said the anticipated economic return consisted of looking at existing business expansions throughout the last seven years, as well as expansions at Command Web and Morris Converting locating to the area, and calculating the contributing sales and property taxes from those expansions.

The report predicts the anticipated economic return for the city and county in 2016, which would be after 10 years of

contracting with the chamber for economic development, will be up to $527,000.

Missy Bonnot, economic development director for the chamber, said there was one site visit to the area in 2013, from Morris Converting which actually visited several times, but the chamber is only counting it as one.

Morris Converting is constructing a new 32,000-square-foot facility to supply packaging for dog food products. Bonnot said the company is currently occupying vacant space on Missouri Boulevard and already has 10 employees, mostly former RR Donnelley employees. The company will create 25 jobs and make a $3 million investment in the area.

Shaun Sappenfield, existing business manager at the chamber, said there were three announced business expansions in 2013: Modern Litho, Brown Printing and Sonoco. The three expansions, he said, create 30 jobs and represent a more than $8.1 million investment.

Mark Mehmert, community development manager at the chamber, said since 2007, the residential appraised values in the downtown core have gone from $435,000 to more than $1 million, and downtown store occupancy is at 93 percent.

“If your downtown is not stable, then your whole area is not stable,” Allen said. “What our program tries to do is cover all the bases.”

Overall, the chamber spent 57 percent of its budget, or $526,786, on economic development, with the remaining 43 percent, or $401,977, being spent on chamber activities.

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