The Chamber’s 75th Year
Key objectives for 2023 have been outlined and are in the works By Amile Wilson The Bolivar Bullet Founded in 1948, the Cleveland Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce will celebrate its 75th Anniversary this year. Serving as the umbrella organization for tourism and Main Street as well as traditional Chamber of Commerce and economic development duties means they have quite a bit on their plate. Not only has tourism and economic development increased year-over-year, many numbers are higher even compared to pre-COVID statistics. Cleveland’s recent 50 Nights of Lights had a 247 percent increase in attendance year-over-year. The winter- wonderland featuring over 1,000,000 lights drew both locals and tourists. To downtown to see the extravagant displays. The Chamber handles both the city and county and serves as home for the entire local economic development offices. This helps unify efforts but also means that the Chamber has a lot on its plate. This year, the Chamber has outlined key objectives for each of their program areas. Chamber of Commerce Provide programming and resources to members Grow membership Increase the volunteer base to help with events Economic Development Seek funding sources and make improvements to industrial sites in Bolivar County Market available industrial sites Support existing businesses and industry through programming and resources Economic and Chamber activities to support these goals include employee retention workshops, job fairs, professional development and other group events. In 2022 Cleveland became “Certified Retirement Community” under the Welcome Home Mississippi program. Chamber efforts will focus on promoting and recruiting based on that designation. Cleveland Retirement Community Promote the retirement designation to the community and region Work with the state-wide Welcome Home Mississippi to inform them of opportunities in Cleveland Promote and market the designation through Delta State University alumni outlets Shopping local gives a double service to the community. First by supporting local businesses, and second by keeping sales tax dollars local. The Cleveland Main Street office is focused on developing downtown business activity. Team Cleveland Main Street Increase sales tax and retail revenues through events and promotions downtown Market downtown and surrounding anchor streets as a location for new business Implement plans and seek additional funding to improve public amenities Tourism is about both bringing people in and about providing activity for local residents. Tourism Commission Promote attractions dealing with outdoor recreation, civil rights, and new events. Promote Cleveland as a destination for meetings and conferences. Develop a stronger relationship with other Delta communities to promote the region as a whole. Tourism numbers are already up 10% from last year and new initiatives – especially ones that focus on outdoor recreation are expected to drive that number up even more. “This coming year we’ll be expanding a lot into developing not only Cleveland but Bolivar County,” said Sean Johnson, Director of Tourism. “There’s a lot of history and a lot of culture and recreation here. We have some initiatives to nudge our way more into the blues conversation especially in international travel.” Johnson has only been in
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Life In Cleveland & Bolivar County
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Merigold, MS– A hidden gem in the Delta
PO Monkeys– On the blues trail
Rosedale, MS– Robert Johnson history
Shelby, MS– A Delta town
SouthGroup Insurance– Big company with hometown feel
Cleveland State Bank