Vision & Mission
Discover the Chamber of Lawrence
Social capital is the fabric used to weave a strong community and no one boasts a longer history of leveraging social capital for the community’s common good than The Chamber in Lawrence, Kansas.
For 142 years, the Chamber has held fast to its original purpose as stated in its Articles of Incorporation: To advance the commercial, industrial, educational and civic interests of the City of Lawrence. To understand what the Chamber has represented, how it has brought together resources for the common good and what it aspires to be, you need to look no further than its members and leaders, who have led the way in building the Lawrence economy and improving the quality of life for its residents.
Some highlights from The Chamber’s history include:
- The creation of Lone Star Lake, dedicated in 1940, after The Chamber raised $10,000 from selling lots on the proposed waterfront
- Involvement in the recruitment of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant in 1942
- The Lawrence Industrial Development Company, formed in 1949 as the first economic development efforts by The Chamber. Activities of the group include buying land at 23rd and Haskell and recruiting the Food Machinery & Chemical Corporation
- Lobbying efforts by The Chamber and the University of Kansas for I-70 to route through Lawrence instead of Tonganoxie in 1953
The Santa Fe Industrial Park was initiated in 1956 and opened in 1960. By the mid-to-late 1970’s, the park was nearly full and the Chamber began efforts to identify additional land for economic development. The East Hills Industrial Park is the result of the Chamber’s proactive plan to recruit companies by providing land suitable for building and, in some cases, structures ready for lease or purchase. Additionally, in 1987, the Chamber was instrumental in encouraging the City’s investment in a new terminal at the Lawrence Municipal Airport, which had been in operation since 1929.
The Leadership Lawrence program was established in 1982 and now boasts nearly 900 graduates who have gone to be community and government leaders.
Today, the Chamber is embarking on a new era of community development activism to jumpstart the local economy. The Chamber is working collaboratively with the City of Lawrence, Douglas County, KU Innovation Park, USD 497 and the KU Small Business Development Center, as well as other community organizations on multiple projects:
- Lawrence VenturePark, an industrial site on K-10 Highway with a spec building ready for business and two projects announced in the past few years: Pretzels Inc. and U.S Engineering
- Continued support of The Dwayne Peaslee Technical Training Center to improve workforce development efforts
- Expansion of KU Innovation Park to support local growth in the tech and bioscience sector
- Identification of resources for start-ups and entrepreneurs, including the Metro E-Community gap fund loan program
Growth. Leadership. Advocacy.
It’s all happening at The Chamber in Lawrence, Kansas.
A thriving, economically progressive community and enviable quality of life for our citizens.
Promote growth and economic prosperity by serving as the leading business advocate, cultivating leadership & facilitating connectivity.
EDC of Lawrence & Douglas County
The EDC is the economic development arm of The Chamber. The EDC’s goal is for Lawrence & Douglas County to have the region’s top performing economy and be recognized as the best place to live, learn, play, work and do business.
“The Chamber has turned us on to other businesses, other people to talk to, financial business plans.
I can systematically look at how the Lawrence Chamber helps businesses.”
Bryan Zesiger, Z&M Twisted Vines
718 New Hampshire St. Lawrence, KS 66044
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