Local organizations host Town Hall for Business Professionals event

Published 2:10 pm Thursday, December 8, 2022

NILES — The Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce, Buchanan Area Chamber of Commerce and strategic planning partner enFocus kicked off a planning effort hosting close to 40 business and community leaders at the YMCA of Greater Michiana Wednesday night to discuss future plans for the Niles and Buchanan areas.

Leaders from local nonprofits, private businesses, healthcare organizations, educational institutions and local government met to discuss key priorities for growth over the next five years. The town hall meeting served as a kickoff to a community-wide planning process that will result in a strategic plan for the Niles-Buchanan communities. The meeting was hosted The Town Hall began with a brainstorm on community needs that would help define key themes for action planning following the initial planning events.  

After a definition of key themes, small groups discussed action plans including current and future potential projects that could be included in an overall strategic plan.  Leaders discussed themes such as workforce development, housing, and quality of place. Andrew Wiand, Executive Director at enFocus, noted “our team’s goal was to hear from both communities and align leadership around key priorities so we can develop action plans that will increase economic prosperity in the area.”

Of the event, advisory committee member and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Michiana, Mark Weber said “we are thankful for having so many passionate leaders from the Niles and Buchanan communities together at the YMCA collectively working to understand and solve challenges. We are excited to keep the momentum going.” 

Ryan Boeskool, Executive Director of the Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce, echoed that sentiment noting “I am confident this will lead to great things for our communities and result in actionable collaborative projects.” The strategic planning initiative has been jointly underwritten by the Hunter Foundation, the Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce, and the AEP Foundation.