The Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce will have a banner year in 2018 because it will be celebrating its 30th Year Anniversary.

Gina Pence, president and CEO of the chamberm said in a report to chamber members, “We are excited to end 2017 with our largest economic impact in 29 years. This boost has been the result of several campaigns such as Keepin’ it Local, Chamber Gift Cards, community partnerships, membership investment and the Chamber Tourism program featuring the highly successful Food, Wine and Brew Fest.”

The annual 2017 Chamber Review indicates a current membership of 887. The total cumulative growth rate was 6.24 percent or an increase of about 115 members, overall.

Grand openings and ribbon cuttings numbered 36, included with other chamber events such as networking occasions like the Coffee Connection and the After Hours Business Mixers.

Others included a high school initiative program, Fort Hood support, business workshops, community events and the Vision XXI 2017 leadership class.

Vision XXI kicked off 2018 by officially launching the first phase of Anderson Arbors, a beautification project along Farm-t0-Market 2410 / Knights Way.

A ceremony was held Jan. 10 that featured the unveiling of an ornate sculptured stone in honor of Dr. Jim Anderson, the founder of Vision XXI and an announcement that the planting of 54 crepe myrtle trees would begin in April. The 18-member class from last year sold $15,000 worth of trees.

The Anderson Arbors project will continue through 2018.

Free membership and tools to grow business included job-hiring fairs, job postings with 6,538 online views, a welcome bag program totaling 2,500 and various lunch and learn programs.

The total tourism economic impact equaled $4.1 million, according to the chamber. The activity included bus tours, day-trippers, medical, churches, the Veterans Cemetery, education, shopping, sporting tournaments and conventions.

“Visitors stayed, played and shopped,” said Mary Shabunia, coordinator of business retention at the chamber.

The Heights Chamber again developed partnerships in the schools by awarding $1,500 in scholarships in addition to sponsoring a teacher and staff appreciation breakfast, HHHS Junior Ambassador program, community back-to-school rally, Vision XXI Youth Leadership, youth jobs and a teen job fair, classroom grant patrol and a connection with the KISD Foundation.

Concerning social media, recorded 72 percent followers between the ages of 25 and 44.

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