Chris HeadshotChris Schutte, Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce


Visit Greater Springfield recently received 8 MIDDY awards at the Ohio Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Annual Educational Conference in Gahanna. The MIDDY awards (named after Ohio’s Midwest location) recognize statewide excellence in destination marketing across all platforms. A record number of entries were judged by a statewide judging panel comprised of marketing, PR and advertising professionals. Visit Greater Springfield received more awards than any other destination marketing organization in the state.

Visit Greater Springfield took home first place awards for:

  • Our “Find Your Unwind” marketing campaign which includes print materials, digital elements, bus wraps, apparel and social media
  • The VisitGreaterSpringfield.com website which was launched in April of this year and features “mobile first” technology which has helped increase site visits by more than 160%
  • Our “Find Your Unwind” visitor guide, 30,000 copies of which will be distributed this year
  • The “Minute in Springfield” video series featuring staffers Kelcie Webster, and Emily Harrison, that has been viewed more than 15,000 times via social media
  • Our LED billboard ad campaign which is seen by more than 60,000 travelers everyday on the I-70 LED board constructed by the Clark County Convention Facilities Authority
  • VisitorView, our monthly e-newsletter that is shared with our local tourism partners and stakeholders

Visit Greater Springfield also claimed second place awards in the categories of print advertisement, and social media campaign. With these 8 new awards, we have now received more than 50 state and national awards since 2011.

While awards are certainly nice, the proof is in the results. The local impact of tourism has grown more than $42 million* since 2011 and the tourism industry is responsible for nearly $370 million in annual economic impact in Clark County. Our local hotel occupancy rate – a leading indicator of marketing impact – is up 8.9% Y-T-D when compared to 2014. Tourism is a growth industry in Clark County and it’s time to embrace it as such.

Funding for tourism promotion is derived from lodging tax charged to guests staying in local hotels. Many DMO’s in the state receive 100% of the lodging tax collected to promote their destination to leisure travelers, business travelers and groups. Visit Greater Springfield currently receives slightly less than 50% of the lodging tax remitted to the City of Springfield by our local hotels.

When compared to our competitive set in Southwest Ohio (Greene, Warren, Montgomery, and Butler counties), our annual budget is somewhere between one-half, and one-quarter, of theirs. This puts our community at a distinct disadvantage from a marketing perspective.

While we continue to promote Greater Springfield at a high level, additional funding for tourism will be needed to move our community forward. We have formed stakeholder committees to help us create comprehensive plans around sports tourism, conventions and meetings, and major event bid fees. These tourism industry sectors have the potential to drive significant increases in lodging tax receipts, sales tax receipts and local economic impact.

The continued growth of our local tourism economy is good news for Springfield. Tourism is closely aligned with quality of life, business attraction and retention, relocation and retail sector growth. Now is the time for us to invest in this growth industry and take the next steps to ensure that it will remain vital for years to come.

*Source: Tourism Economics, “The Economic Impact of Tourism in Clark County, Ohio”, June 2014

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce


Springfield is blessed to still have some wonderful architecture. The unique designs can be seen throughout downtown in buildings like the former City Hall, Bushnell, News-Sun, and various government buildings. This unique architecture can also be seen in neighborhoods surrounding downtown like the South Fountain Historic District.

My wife and I had the opportunity to tour some of these incredible rehabilitated homes at the 2015 South Fountain Avenue Historic District Tour of Homes this past weekend.

The South Fountain Historic District is significant as the largest, intact concentration of high-style late 19th and early 20th century houses in Springfield and as the embodiment of the growth of the upper middle class and the prosperity of the industrial and business leaders who populated the neighborhood. Their economic success, during a period of intense industrial growth in Springfield, is reflected in the many distinctive residences in the area. Included are excellent examples of the transitional Greek Revival-Italianate, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Eastlake porches, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival styles, along with a number of more typical turn-of-the-century housing. Several handsome churches, small commercial buildings and a fire station are the only non-residential buildings which are original to the area.

The South Fountain Avenue Historic District encompasses an area of approximately fifteen square blocks immediately south of downtown Springfield, across the street from the former South High School. Prominent Americans like Oliver S. Kelly, William N. Whiteley, and Francis Bookwalter are counted among the district’s founding residents. With the continued success of Whiteley’s Champion Reaper Company and other district owned businesses, South Fountain came to be recognized as a premier residential area for Springfield’s affluent.

Victorian-era homes are the mainstay, though there are also a few later Prairie-style houses. Every home in the district has a front porch, a feature that’s celebrated the first Saturday of each October during South Fountain’s Front Porch Festival. Real estate prices range from $15,000 for a fixer-upper Folk Victorian, to $80,000 for a restored Queen Anne.

South Fountain Preservation, Inc. is the neighborhood association in the South Fountain Avenue Historic District. The idea behind South Fountain Preservation emerged from hours of discussion over a kitchen table during the summer of 1976. In the fall of that year, the group was founded and began holding regular monthly meetings. Mailings were sent to property owners encouraging them to attend and air their opinions. South Fountain Preservation was chartered as a non-profit corporation in the summer of 1977.

Thanks to the hard work and pioneering spirit of this group of people, houses, once carved up into apartments, are now being purchased and restored by young professionals, and baby boomers alike. Many of the residents work in Springfield, commute to Dayton, or make the 45 minute drive to Columbus. Because of their hard work and relentless determination, Springfield is quietly reemerging as a more diverse community with neighborhoods like this one that are affordable and unique places to raise kids in a unique, village style environment.

Next time you are near this neighborhood, make sure to check out its great progress!

Have a great Chamber Day!

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce


On any given day, about 64,000 Clark County residents head off to work. The Springfield-Clark County Safety Council would like to see each of those employees return home safely at the end of that work day.

Since 1994, the Safety Council has been providing occupational safety information, educational opportunities and special events to increase occupational safety awareness to businesses. It is hosted by the Chamber of Greater Springfield and funded by the Ohio Division of Safety and Hygiene.

This past week Springfield lost one of its greatest examples of a leader who helped drive a strong safety culture for decades while at Ohio Edison. Art Anderson, former Area Line Manager, was a dedicated servant to the company he worked for more than 40 years, and to the community where he lived, worked, and played.

Art not only lived as an example to those who worked for him, but he also became one to many in the community who had the opportunity to work with him on various community projects. Art was very active as an electrician with his sons at the Clark County Fairgrounds, and was once very active in support of the grounds and sports facilities at Kenton Ridge High School. In his spare time, Art was also an accomplished fisherman and liked to play golf. His example will be hard to replace, and that kind of leadership will be missed by many in our community.

I was fortunate to have worked closely with Art during my time at FirstEnergy. As leaders of the local operation, it was our responsibility to help drive a strong safety culture. When you’re dealing with electrical power lines, you don’t mess around with safety. It was the first thing we talked about at every meeting. It was the most important item that was addressed every morning before sending people out into the field.

Because of people like Art Anderson, Ohio Edison rarely had an accident during a storm occurrence. Accidents were more likely to occur on a sunny day when workers became complacent about routine tasks – tasks that they had performed thousands of times, such as climbing a ladder, using a pocket knife or backing a truck into one of the bays. That is why safety was the number one issue we talked about.

As we honor Art’s life and his leadership at Ohio Edison, let us remember to make safety the number one priority in everything we do! A good place to start would be to make sure the company you work for belongs to the Safety Council. Membership is free and open to all. Breakfast meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at the Courtyard by Marriott. For more information, contact Val Kelly at 325-7621 or vkelly@greaterspringfield.com.

Have a great Chamber Day!

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce


I had the opportunity this past week to help kick off the 2015 United Way Campaign by participating with Team Chamber in the United Way Golf Outing. It was another beautiful day at the annual event hosted by one of the best municipal golf courses anywhere, Reid North.

This is one of those days during the year when local businesses, government, and non-profit organizations come together to raise money for a great cause. In this case, it highlighted the great work United Way does throughout our community.

United Way Worldwide consists of 1,800 local United Ways with more than 2,600,000 volunteers working in 40 countries around the world. It exists to support the social service and welfare needs of many groups of people. United Way also goes beyond temporary fixes to create lasting change that lifts up entire communities. By bringing people and organizations together around innovative solutions, the United Way impacts approximately 50 million lives each year.

The United Way of Clark, Madison, and Champaign Counties had its beginnings in Clark County in 1921, when community leaders organized the Springfield Federation for Community Service and has undergone many positive changes since the beginning. Their responsibilities encompass several critical areas: raising money to distribute to agencies, oversight of spending, monitoring how these funded services impact our community, information services, volunteer development and community building. They also focus on three important areas to help people succeed.

Education: Help children to achieve their potential

Income: Promote financial stability toward financial independence

Health: Increase health and decrease risky behavior

The nonprofit organization recently named the 2015 campaign leaders for each county and is working to set its fundraising goals for the year. The Clark County campaign chair is local developer, Peter Noonan. Pete believes supporting United Way is a straightforward way for people to contribute to a number of organizations that provide a safety net for those in need. The Clark County campaign supports 24 area agencies, as well as Promise Neighborhood.

Madison County’s leader this year is Patrick Closser, president of the London City Council and owner of Casey’s Carryout. In Champaign County Andrew – and the Chamber’s very own Amy Donahoe – and their children Marah (11), Will (9), and Brody (7), will serve as the campaign ambassadors.

After coming up slightly short of the goal in Clark County last year, United Way Executive Director Kerry Pedraza said the organization wants to make sure it sets a challenging, but attainable mark. The dollars raised for this year’s combined United Way Campaign help fund area agencies that work to fulfill United Way’s mission and vision. The organization raised more than $1.4 million for local distribution in the three counties last year.

We can all help local Executive Director Kerry Pedraza and the United Way team accomplish the goal. Simply visit uwccmc.org to make a donation online or download a pledge card. Together, we can build a better community.

Have a great Chamber day!

Chris HeadshotChris Schutte, Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce


The votes have been counted, the finalists have been determined, and we’re now just weeks away from naming “The Best of Springfield.” Following a summer-long, public voting process which saw nearly 3000 ballots cast, The Chamber of Greater Springfield will unveil the new Best of Springfield magazine and present awards in eighteen categories at the first-ever Best Of Springfield Celebration on October 22nd at Clark State’s Hollenbeck Bayley Center.

Before we reveal the finalists and tell you more about the event on October 22nd, I think it’s important to understand the motivation behind the contest. At our annual Chamber staff retreat this past winter, we discussed ways in which we could shine a spotlight on the people and organizations that make Springfield great. We were searching for the right vehicle to help raise our community perception – both internally, and externally. After much thought, we landed on the “Best of Springfield” concept which would include a glossy, lifestyle magazine highlighting Springfield’s best businesses, attractions and events.

Our staff believed it was important that the voting process was a true “public” vote. Therefore, we created an open-ended voting platform at www.BestOfSpfld.com that allowed voters to enter their favorites in eighteen different categories. The only eligibility requirement was that the business – or attraction – be based in Clark County. The voting was promoted via billboards, print advertisements and social media.

And now…on to the finalists (in no particular order):

Best Breakfast Spot: Cracker Barrel, Bob Evans, Buckeye Sports Lodge

Best Lunch Spot: O’Conners, Our Hero Subs, Mike & Rosy’s

Best Fine Dining: Seasons Bistro, Cecil & Lime, Olive Garden

Best Pizza & Subs: Catanzaro’s, Bada Bing, Hickory Inn

Best Sushi: Sake 3, Yamato, Sakura

Best Chicken Wings: Roosters, Fricker’s, BW3

Best Burger: Ridgewood Café, Five Guys, O’Conners

Best Coffee & Bakery: Tim Horton’s, Schuler’s, Coffee Expressions

Best Ice Cream: Young’s, Dairy Queen, Cold Stone

Best Date Night Spot: Cinema 10, O’Conner’s, Seasons Bistro

Best Bar/Nightclub: Buckeye Sports Lodge, Station 1, O’Conner’s

Best Place to Watch the Game: O’Conner’s, BW3, Buckeye Sports Lodge

Best Family Fun: Champion City Kings, Young’s, NTPRD Chiller

Best Local Attraction: Heritage Center, Young’s, Westcott House

Best Local Event: Summer Arts Festival, Holiday in the City, Rotary Food Truck Competition

Best Outdoor Recreation: Snyder Park/ECO Sports, Bike Trails, Buck Creek State Park

Best Salon & Spa: Visions, Oasis, Mallia

Best Locally Owned Retail Store: Bone-a-Fido Bakery, Fair Trade Winds, Champion City Guide + Supply

The winners in each category will be honored at the “Best of Springfield” Celebration on October 22nd which will feature an exclusive wine tasting with Cameron Hughes, Founder & CEO of Cameron Hughes Wines. Guests will enjoy a special tasting menu, seven different Cameron Hughes wines and live entertainment. Our emcee for the evening is Deborah Linz, news anchor for ABC 22/FOX 45. The event is open to the public and tickets may be purchased at http://bit.ly/BestOfSpringfield, or by calling 521-1944.

Congratulations to the finalists and thank you for helping make Springfield great!

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce


Dig it up!  Truck it out!  That was the theme of a public forum this past week held at Northwestern High School.  The US EPA was in town to present a cost effective solution to a decades-long issue at the Tremont City Barrel fill.  The only problem is that it did not include what was in a previous fix, the removal of what is remaining of the 51,500 barrels that were buried there.

I estimate there were more than 800 concerned citizens in attendance at the forum.  I have never seen such an outpouring of community support for an issue affecting our community during my working career.  The energy in the room was electric!  We were all interested in what the EPA had to say, and we wanted to have our opportunity to speak as well.  The freedom of speech was exhibited throughout the meeting, and that is what makes our Country so great!

So what are we trying to protect?  Our sole source aquifer is one of the largest and most productive water sources in the nation.  It supplies water to the whole Dayton-Springfield region and approximately 15 million gallons of water a day to the Springfield area.  The entire southwest United States would love to have what we take for granted every day.

Our aquifer also supplies water to important Springfield food related companies like Dole Fresh Vegetables, Reiter Dairy, and Woeber Mustard.  One of the Chamber’s most valuable marketing tools is our vast, pure water supply from this incredible underground aquifer.

The discussions about what to do with the local barrel fill have been going on for decades.  As recent as 2010, the US EPA presented plan 4a which includes:

  • Excavating all hazardous wastes
  • Transporting all hazardous wastes off-site for treatment
  • Consolidating nonhazardous and contaminated soil in an on-site cell

The US EPA presentation to the community this past week was a different plan called 9a which has been agreed upon by the barrel fill owner, Waste Management, and includes:

  • Excavating all hazardous wastes
  • Transporting liquid waste that passes a paint filter test off-site for treatment
  • Reburying the sludge in a cell with an engineered liner
  • Places a cap over the waste cell with a monitoring system

I believe the reason why local support for removing the hazardous waste has been so successful is due to the grassroots efforts of People For Safe Water led by Marilyn Welker.  This group has held many town hall meetings, and effectively mobilized the support of the City, County, Townships, the business community, and many other organized groups throughout the community.

Charlie Patterson, Clark County Health Commissioner, has also helped lead the charge for a plausible resolution to the barrel fill issue.  He has been a strong advocate for the future health of our area by leading the effort with both the US EPA and Ohio EPA.  Charlie has also worked closely with our federal and state elected officials to make sure our community’s voice is heard.

Although the 8-acre site where the barrels reside is not affecting our sole source aquifer today, it could at some point in our future.  We will need to remain vigilant in our efforts to remove this potential threat to our community and our region once and for all.  This is not only a health related concern, but a quality of life issue, as well as one that could impact our ability to lure and keep much needed jobs in our community.

A modified 4a resolution would accomplish what Senator Widener asked for at this most important meeting held last week.  Dig it up!  Truck it out!  Place a liner in the affected area so we can all enjoy a prosperous future.  Not to mention protect one of the largest, purest sole source aquifers in North America!

Have a great Chamber Day!

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce


Earlier this year I had an opportunity to visit with one of the most successful people in his field. He has not only helped save countless lives during his career in Springfield, but he has also been asked to care for US presidents and met many international dignitaries in pursuit of the prevention of heart disease. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Neravetla as the long standing director of cardiac surgery at Springfield Regional Medical Center.

Here are some of his thoughts on how heart patients are being treated here in Springfield.

“Springfield Regional Medical Center’s cardiac surgery program has once again received the highest rating of three stars for the fifth consecutive time from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS). The three star rating is awarded to only 10 to 12 % of the best heart surgery programs across America. Primary award factors include overall complication rate, including mortality rate. At Springfield Regional in 2014, these rates were nearly half of the national average of 848 heart programs that report their data to STS.

Patients who arrive in Springfield with heart attack symptoms in-progress also receive expeditious evaluation and care by the accredited chest pain unit at SRMC. Timely diagnosis and deployment of the cardiology team to reopen a blocked artery decreases the degree of damage to the heart muscle – allowing for a more speedy patient recovery. The time it takes from moment the patient arrives at the door to actually have the blocked artery opened to restore blood flow to the heart muscle is another measure of high quality cardiac care. Our time of 58 minutes far exceeds the national standard of 90 minutes recommended by American College of Cardiology.

Patients who need surgery to open a blocked artery in the neck (known as a carotid artery), also have received excellent care and had positive outcomes over the last 24 years. High quality surgery and overall patient recovery of this particular artery is an important step to prevent the dreaded problem of stroke.

As a long term resident of Clark County and the director of cardiac surgery since the inception, I have also taken a very active role in preventing heart disease, not just treating it. We know that smoking and use of table salt play the two of the most important roles in preventable heart disease and strokes. Despite significant progress in reduction of smoking, more work remains. Table salt remains the most widely ignored cause of cardiovascular disease. I feel so deeply about this issue that I have written two books, “Salt Kills” and “Salt: Black America’s Silent Killer,” to help raise awareness.

With cardiovascular disease as the number one killer in Clark County, providing this high-quality care at Springfield Regional is vital and affects our co-workers, friends and neighbors. Top-notch skill and teamwork of all the departments working as a well-oiled machine recently came together to save the life of an 8- year-old who came to our Emergency Department with a gunshot wound to the chest.

This Springfield Regional team is able to produce excellent outcomes for our patients, regardless of what medical issue brings a person to encounter our team’s remarkable care. Living in a community the size of Springfield, I am fortunate and pleased to be a part of a medical facility with such high quality outcomes across many medical specialties that are dedicated to preventing illness, not just treating it. Why would I go anywhere else for the healthcare of myself or my own family members?”

With doctors like Dr. Neravetla living and working in our community, we all have one more reason to be proud of this great place we call home.


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