The new Belmond Growth Alliance will be getting right to work when City Hall opens on Monday, Jan. 4. The BGA is a merger of economic development and chamber of commerce activities between the former Belmond Chamber of Commerce, former BIDCO, and the City of Belmond.
The director of the BGA will be Julie Hegge. She will be working from City Hall. Half her time will be spent on BGA functions, and half her time will be spent on various duties for the City of Belmond.
“We are excited to get started with this new program,” said City Manager Darrel Steven Carlyle. “We have lots of things to do , including getting the Eaton building sold and the spec building in the industrial park filled.”
“One of our first activities will be meeting individually with as many business owners and other interested people as we can,” said BGA President Kevin Stein. “We want to explain how this new effort will work, and explain how we will need the investment of everyone in the Belmond area.”
The BGA will include seven sub-committees, each headed by a member of the board of directors.
Membership: Cody Bonnstetter;
Business Promotion (former Chamber activities): Melanie Sopher;
Marketing, Tourism, Website: Linzie Morris;
Pride in Belmond (beautification): Eric Simonson;
Business Contact and Recruitment: Stein;
Rural Commerce: Tate Goeman.
“We want every committee to be active and functioning,” said Carlyle. “We will be working on a redesign of the website. The Chamber phone number 444-3937 is being moved to City Hall. Our new email address is: growthalliance @belmondiowa.com. We also want to start up the former Ambassador program with matching coats for committee members.”
“We have annual investment levels that are very similar to the combined dues of the Chamber and BIDCO,” said Stein. “Some are even lower.”
The cost of the new full time employee will be shared 50-50 between the BGA and City of Belmond. In addition, the Jacobson Fund for Belmond has committed $25,000 per year for the next three years for promotional activities, Carlyle said.
“We want people to rest assured that the finances of the BGA and the City will not be mixed,” said Carlyle. “The former BIDCO account has already been transferred to the BGA, and the Chamber account will soon be transfered. Belmond Bucks will continue to be offered. People should stop by City Hall and get them from Julie Hegge.”
Stein noted that the Belmond Chamber certificates issued in 2020 need to be redeemed by June 30, 2021. After that they will expire. The new Belmond Bucks will have a six month life once issued.
“We have a lot of younger people serving on the BGA board, and I think that’s great,” said Carlyle. “They have a new perspective. We would like to improve of some of the things we are doing, revive some old activities, and come up with some new ones. With the development of the BGA, the work done so far on Colts Corner Daycare, and discussions about new housing and new recreation facilities in town, it’s an exciting time to be in Belmond.
“One final thing I’m happy about is that City Hall will now be open over the noon hour,” said Carlyle. “With three people in the office, we will be able to split lunch hours and serve the public better.”