Still a role

Rockdale Chamber of Commerce will play a role in town’s future

One year ago, in this space, The Reporter noted the Rockdale Chamber of Commerce was preparing to observe the 60th anniversary of its founding with a commemorative banquet.

This year, some might expect the headline on an editorial to read “Sixty-One and Done.” But that’s not the case.

It’s true the Chamber has changed drastically in one year. For the first time since the 1950s it doesn’t have a president—that title was “manager” for most of those decades—and its new role in Rockdale’s economic development has yet to be determined.

Unless something unforeseen happens, the city council is going to contract with an outside entity, most probably Orasi Development, to “re-brand” Rockdale and develop a plan for this community to basically re-invent itself.

Just in case you haven’t heard, Rockdale is no longer the home of a major aluminum smelter, which was once the largest in the nation.

Orasi representative Paul Sturiale made a dazzling presentation to a group of civic and business leaders recently and at the meeting’s end several endorsed the idea of having a set of “new eyes” take a look at how Rockdale can attract tourists and showcase itself as an attractive place for new businesses and residents.

Orasi’s retainer fee would be $1,500 per month.

One of Sturiale’s key points was that nothing his, or by implication any other firm, might bring to the table, will work if everyone isn’t on the same page.

He mentioned several groups Orasi would work with and one of them is the Chamber of Commerce. He also referenced that he had visited the Chamber office, where the organization continues to maintain an every-day presence.

On Thursday, the Chamber will observe its 61st year with its annual banquet at the junior-high commons. It continues to boast a membership of well over 300 businesses and individuals.

It’s here and it’s not going anywhere. There’s a role for the Chamber of Commerce in the business and economic future of this community.—M.B.

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