Lake Mills economic group ready to roll

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 12, 2001

LAKE MILLS, Iowa –The merger of the Lake Mills Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Mills Development Group becomes official Jan.

Friday, January 12, 2001

LAKE MILLS, Iowa –The merger of the Lake Mills Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Mills Development Group becomes official Jan. 20 at the new organization’s first official meeting.

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&uot;We want to stress that this organization is not just about business. We are concerned about all quality-of-life issues in the area,&uot; said recently hired Executive Director Marilyn Hoffman. &uot;Everyone who has ideas or concerns about the community should come to this meeting.&uot;

Hoffman said the new organization’s name will be the Lake Mills Chamber Development Corporation, or LMCDC.

&uot;After Jan. 20, it will be a legal entity. We’ll be an official organization representing the interests of Lake Mills.&uot;

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. with a social hour. At 7:30, the merging groups will wrap up business and officially join forces. A new board of directors will then be chosen.

The evening concludes with entertainment by a local band called &uot;Nate and the Moonlighters.&uot; Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served throughout the night.

All community members are invited to attend and learn more about the organization’s structure and goals.

The LMCDC will consist of members from the merging groups along with their financial resources. But Hoffman hopes to see a lot of new faces at the Jan. 20 meeting. She envisions new members coming from all segments of the community including farmers, schools, home-based business owners, churches, retirees, day cares, social clubs, charitable organizations, and individuals or families.

&uot;There has been a lot of interest from the entire community in this merger. People are looking for ways to get involved,&uot; Hoffman said. &uot;Lake Mills is like that. It gets behind projects and supports them to the end.&uot;

A key moment for the merger was the city council’s decision to help fund the group with an annual contribution. Winnebago Cooperative Telephone Association (WCTA) also offered the use of its video conference facility as an office for the organization.

&uot;It’s a great start. We have a good member base, and we’re getting good financial support from the city,&uot; said Hoffman. &uot;This video conferencing facility is a wonderful tool for us as well.&uot;

Hoffman has been the executive director for less than two weeks and has been concentrating on organizing her new office and preparing for the first official meeting. Soon she will turn her attention to community projects and economic development.

&uot;I can see myself working behind the scenes with the LMCDC committees, writing grants and networking with other groups in the state,&uot; said Hoffman. She has experience in economic development from her time with Win-Worth BETCO, another economic development organization that serves Winnebago and Worth counties.

&uot;I’ll be working closely with people from Win-Worth BETCO too. Their office is right next door,&uot; Hoffman said.

Terry Wegener, general manager of WCTA and a key player in the merger, said Lake Mills is a town that has managed to hold its own in the last decade. LMCDC will help the town to even more.

&uot;The key thing to remember is that this organization will work on all of the issues important to our community, not just business recruitment and retention,&uot; Wegener said. &uot;It’s really important to get everyone involved if Lake Mills is going to attract young people and grow.&uot;