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Building Quality Partnerships
Asheboro/Randolph Chamber programs unify community efforts
Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce staff from left: Stacey Walker, membership/events director; George Gusler Jr., executive vice president; and Amy Rudisill, administrative assistant.

Nearly 600 businesses and organizations look to the Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce to represent their viewpoints on key issues ranging from education and economic development to infrastructure and quality of life.

Executive Vice President George Gusler has found the best way to achieve an ambitious program of work is to forge close collaborations between the Chamber’s volunteer leadership and other community partners.

“ At any given time, we probably have close to 100 or more volunteers working on committees,” he says.

The success of the Chamber’s coalition-building strategy is evident in its Transportation Committee. When the committee was formed almost a decade ago, each of the area municipalities had separate requests in to the state and federal departments of transportation.

“ We brought representatives of all the interested parties together and said, ‘Let’s do this as a unified effort,’” Gusler recalls.

Asheboro City Councilman Talmadge Baker, a key member of the Chamber’s committee and chair of the Piedmont/Triad Rural Transportation Planning Organization, is helping lead that united push. Baker cites improved access via Interstates 73 and 74 among their many achievements.

I-73 will run from Detroit to Myrtle Beach, S.C. I-74, which originally terminated in Cincinnati, will also extend to Myrtle Beach. Both run through Asheboro following the route of U.S. 220. Baker anticipates construction wrapping up on the local section by the end of 2004.

“ It will have tremendous impact on the economy of Randolph County and especially Asheboro,” Baker predicts.

In addition to the interstate project, the transportation committee has taken an active stance on upgrades to U.S. Highway routes 49 and 64.

Baker cites improved access as key enticements for new industry as well as for tourism.

While Randolph County’s pro-business attitude and natural beauty are already strong draws, the Chamber and other organizations know there is always room for improvement.

A study, sponsored by the County Commission and the Tourism Development Authority, will help Randolph County form a parks and recreation master plan.

As director of planning and development for Randolph County, Hal Johnson plays an integral role in this process.

“ We’re looking at partnerships with our municipalities and also at potential recreational opportunities in the future for Randleman Lake,” Johnson says.

In community meetings, residents have said they want open spaces with multiuse trails and greenways along with recreational development tied to the new lake, he adds.

The Chamber has been a strong proponent for enhancing quality of life by making this issue a priority.

By listening to the community, building effective partnerships and harnessing the leadership of its members, the Chamber provides a unified voice for today – and tomorrow.

Story by Cindy Sanders

Photo by Greg Emens

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