2016 Year in Review
2016/2017 Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce fiscal year was under the leadership of board president Daniel Hutson and was a great year. Here are a few highlights of what the Chamber accomplished from April 2016 to March 2017.
BMDD Election - The biggest achievement for 2016 was the conversion of the Brownwood Economic Development Corporation to the Brownwood Municipal Development District (BMDD). Approved by a public election, the conversion means that there are now more options for spending economic development funds. The Brownwood Chamber board approved support for the conversion and helped promote it to the public through several presentations and town hall meetings.
Sports Coordinator - The City of Brownwood has hired Brownwood's first ever sports coordinator through a joint funding effort of the City, Brownwood Chamber and BMDD. The new sports coordinator, Roland Soto, will be a great resource for local sporting events and will be able to better market Brownwood's sports facilities and recruit new tournaments. Many of these sports tournaments have a huge positive economic impact on the community.
New Events - Several new events were launched in 2016 and the Brownwood Chamber was involved in many levels. The Brownwood Arts Council started Brownwood's first annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration. The Chamber provided funding, supplies and manpower for this event as well as being involved in the planning process.
The Brownwood Education Foundation launched their fundraising event, the "Lion's Pride Gala" to help raise funds for students and teachers at BISD. The Chamber provided supplies, equipment and manpower for the event and was heavily involved in the planning process.
Corks & Caps was launched as an independent event the first weekend of October. This Chamber event was a big success and was well received from visitors, residents and the business community.
Business Expo - The Brownwood Business Expo is the Chamber's signature membership event. Held in September, this 20+ year event showcases the Brownwood Business Community. Held in conjunction with the Taste of Brownwood, several hundred attendees learn about businesses in the area during the event.
Tourism - For the past several years, tourism number have been up in Brownwood and Brown County. Several factors impacted this including Lake Brownwood (which is now full), sporting events, local events and an increase in travel and tourism statewide. Our tourism department continues to heavily market Brownwood to visitors in print publications and online.
Planning - The Brownwood Chamber board has laid the groundwork for several new initiatives that will take place in 2017. Funding for a new visitor website was approved which will be an improved portal for getting tourism information out to the public. The new website will be separate from the current Chamber website, but will be cross-linked and be optimized to better engage potential visitors.
Funding was also approved for a Brownwood gateway signage project. Designs and planning are still underway, but should see some movement on the project in 2017 as well as planning for new wayfinding signage.