1303 S Hwy 32, El Dorado Springs, Missouri     417-876-4154

El Dorado Springs Chamber Director Addresses Legislators

Last Monday afternoon El Dorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jackson Tough visited Jefferson City to address the Missouri Legislative Rural Economic Development Caucus.

State Representative Warren Love who invited Tough said “our legislators wanted to gain perspective on the status of rural economic development, better understand the functions of our rural chambers of commerce and the vital impact they have on their economy and community, plus hear about achievements that earned El Dorado Springs the Missouri Small Market Chamber of Commerce of the Year.” Approximately 15-20 legislators from around the state were in attendance as well as Cedar County Economic Developer Marge Vance.


Tough spoke on several topics including the function of rural chambers, which as he said, are

essential to the economic growth of their respective communities. “Our chambers connect

business principals through introductions, they facilitate projects, maintain data on their

individual areas, keep a pulse on local, regional and national economic climates and stay abreast

of pending projects and legislation (a public policy advocate). Our chambers also identify their

respective community’s specific assets and opportunities, they’re instrumental in attracting

business and industry to their area, they help create job opportunities, seek improvement of

community facilities and infrastructure and serve as a partner to every community business.”


“And of course rural chambers are an economic development driver in our communities.

Economic Development is as diverse as the communities in our state. From locating and

retention of businesses, manufacturing, tourism, small business and entrepreneurial development,

retiree recruitment, agribusiness and more. They’re all forms of economic development.”  


The discussion then turned to some issues that Tough and Cedar County Economic Developer Marge Vance brought to the group. Tough told the group “There are several issues that we see affecting Missouri’s rural economic development today. Rural Broadband is one of the largest needs in Missouri. Faster and reliable internet is imperative for our existing businesses, schools, healthcare, prospective economic development and the quality of rural life in Missouri. There’s also a need to fund Small Business and Technology Developmental Centers for better access to vocational and technical schools, improving workforce development and resources for potential rural entrepreneurs. Missouri Works Tax incentives offer limited value to small rural businesses.  Current Missouri Works may be a greater benefit to larger corporations but not so much for our smaller rural operations. Those are just a couple of areas for improvement.


Tough also mentioned the Missouri Chamber of Commerce project, “Missouri 2030, An Agenda to Lead” which is a plan to insure the state is able to compete in a global market, including our rural areas. Tough said “Missouri will be in a better position in the global economy because of the work we are doing today.”


More than 3,000 counties make up the United States.  Today, census data shows that more than half of the population is clustered inside just 146 counties. This trend also holds true in Missouri, a state where more than 70 percent of the population lives in urban areas that encompass less than 3 percent of our state’s land.


As we work to improve rural Missouri, we must understand one hard truth: There are likely no policies we can enact in our state that can reverse urbanization, which is ultimately a global trend.  A better goal is to help prosperity grow in ways that are independent from population growth. 


To do this, the Missouri Chamber and our local chambers are committed to ensuring that our state’s rural communities aren’t left out of economic solutions like those to improve transportation infrastructure. That they share in the benefits of advancing technology and internet connectivity.  That capital funding is available to help get rural startups off the ground. That advancements in how we educate our workforce are relevant and applicable in rural classrooms. That efforts to attract economic expansion include a strong focus on rural jobs.


There’s another important aspect to bringing prosperity to rural Missouri. And that involves recognizing and empowering private-sector businesses and entrepreneurs who know how to thrive in a rural Missouri economy.


Tough said of the day at the capitol, “It was an honor to address the Rural Economic Development Caucus. I hope we were able to shed some light on the role of rural chambers of commerce and spotlight the state of economic development in our rural Missouri communities.”JT Podium Rural ECJT caucus


Each year we are asked to complete an activity questionnaire by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The survey includes questions regarding our projects, programs, initiatives and engagement. This information was used to identify the state’s top chambers of commerce.

Some of the projects, programs we were graded on: Clean-Up El Do, Christmas Lighting Ceremony, Christmas Parade, Community Guides, Visitor Guides, Social Media: “Be in the Know About El Do Mo!”, Online Member Directory, Crafts & Home-Based Biz Christmas Expo, Small Business Saturday, National Day of Prayer (with Ministerial Assoc), City-Wide Garage Sale, Annual Awards Gala, New Member Ribbon Cuttings, Grand Openings, etc., Monthly Networking Luncheons, Highway 54 “Sidewalk to the Future”, El Dorado Springs “Historic Downtown” Sign, Economic Development Director Initiative, New Resident Welcome Packs, Bulldog Seasonal Sports Calendars, Improvement of Community, Source for Visitor and Public Information, Youth Scholarship Fund, Referring Members Prospective Customers, Provide Member Network Opportunities, and much more!

sidewalk-photoThe “Sidewalk to the Future” Phase II Pledge Drive was Successful!

The El Dorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and our community has successfully acquired the needed pledges to secure the grant for the “Sidewalk to the Future” Phase Two. The project has a central focus on children’s safety, but it will benefit the community in many ways.

UPDATE:  El Dorado Springs has received notification that it indeed has been awarded grant funds from the Transportation Alternatives Program that is funded through the Missouri Department of Transportation.  The City of El Dorado Springs was awarded $351,889 in grant funds for the Phase II sidewalk project.    The total cost of the project is $439,862 with the city providing 10 percent match, and the Chamber of Commerce raising the other 10 percent with donations and fundraising efforts from the community.  There were almost 100 grant applications submitted this round.


April 22, 2017  CLEAN UP ELDO!

The date is set for this year's Clean Up ElDo campaign.  On this day we encourage teams to come out to received an assigned area or project to help beautiful our "City of Gold."  Teams will be assigned to areas to pick up trash along the streets, or to help those that have called in for assistance.  Assistance may be in the form of cleaning up their yard, cutting up and hauling off limbs, moving bigger or heavy items to the curb for the bulk trash pickup, etc.

Last year there were 115 community-spirited volunteers that assembled at the El Dorado Springs Chamber of Commerce office for the first “Clean Up El Do” Day. The “Spring City Clean Team” volunteers worked approximately 700 “man-hours” to better El Dorado Springs, with over 50 properties impacted along with miles of streets, ditches and sidewalks throughout the community.

Chamber Director Jackson Tough said “It was a huge success. We had 12 Spring City Clean Teams mobilized to pick up trash along the streets and assist community members with projects and tasks to make El Dorado Springs a cleaner community. Our best estimates are that volunteers filled approximately 300 trash bags. Plus we had a chainsaw crew and six trucks that made over 40 trips to haul brush.”

About a year prior a group of concerned citizens came together to discuss bettering El Dorado Springs. Topics discussed were tourism and the arts, including events and attraction to stimulate the community’s economy. Tough mentioned of the effort, “Why bring folks to our town until we have curb appeal. Don’t we all clean our homes before inviting guests?” From that “Clean Up El Do” was born.

The ongoing Clean Up Committee includes Bob & Glenda Baker, Lana Wilson with Missouri Department of Conservation, Jack Daniel of First Christian Church, Shannon Sewell-Mays of Shannon & Associates, Kevin McNeely Grace United Methodist, Jackson Tough and Peggy Snodgrass with the Chamber of Commerce, Bruce Rogers City of El Dorado Springs, Police Chief Jarrod Scheireck, and Code Enforcement Officer Jennipher Buller.

Recycling much of the refuse was a priority for the Spring City Clean Team group. Evans Drugs brought their recycling bins to the Chamber of Commerce parking lot, a semi trailer was also stationed on-location for electronics and the group collected 192 tires on Saturday.

Tough announced to the crowd, “An un-clean and cluttered environment touches everyone in the community. It influences potential new residents, it affects our children, and also has an influence on economic development and the value of area properties. This Clean-Up El Do effort doesn’t start and end today. Everyone here is showing their commitment to progress. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change our community; indeed we can, and that is what’s happening today!”


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