Later this year, the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce will reach a remarkable milestone that very few organizations ever realize. On December 9th, your Chamber will celebrate its 150th birthday, a century and a half, of making a profoundly positive difference in our community.
Initially established in 1872, the Siouxland Chamber has seen numerous evolutions in its name and even watched its influence expand to include three states. Still, the organization’s objectives have remained essentially unchanged for a century and a half.
While many people know the Siouxland Chamber for the incredible volunteer work performed by our exceptional Ambassadors (also known as the “Green Coats”) at ribbon cuttings and other events throughout the year, others are most familiar with the legislative advocacy that takes place on behalf of our tri-state businesses in Washington, D.C. every spring. The Siouxland Chamber’s Washington Conference and Steak Reception is one of the longest-running and most established lobbying initiatives. Furthermore, the Siouxland Chamber remains engaged in policy work and business advocacy at the state capitals in Des Moines, Lincoln, and Pierre to ensure that our elected officials are mindful of our contributions, as well as the challenges we face as a community.
As we look to celebrate our sesquicentennial, many recognize that the most significant regional projects in our tri-state region have been led or funded by the Siouxland Chamber or its affiliated not-for-profit philanthropic Foundation. From the “Spirit of Siouxland” United 232 Memorial on our riverfront, to the renovation and restoration of the Grandview Park Bandshell and Rose Garden, your Chamber has been at the center of numerous quality-of-life efforts. From the restoration of the Orpheum Theatre to the establishment of the Tyson Events Center, from the construction of the Sioux City Convention Center to the recent Destination Iowa grant that will leverage $7 million for the completion of our regional trail system connecting Sioux City, Sergeant Bluff, Hinton, Merrill, and Le Mars, the Siouxland Chamber has played a significant leadership role in each of these projects. Furthermore, the Siouxland Chamber Foundation has been a key financial supporter of signature projects in Nebraska and South Dakota such as the Freedom Park and soon-to-be built bike trail bridge.
For 150 years, your Siouxland Chamber of Commerce has been making a profoundly positive difference throughout Siouxland and we remain committed to doing so for another 150 years.
By Chris McGowan, President, Siouxland Chamber of Commerce