As the first month of 2020 came to a close,  Troy Chamber of Commerce and its Economic Development Committee pushed forward on their mission to identify and strengthen key aspects of the local community. 

Jan. 29 marked another roundtable discussion for community members to select and discuss different categories of services, businesses and infrastructure they felt lacking or underdeveloped. 

Participants were split into two pods, where they went person-by-person to talk about things like family and kids activities, infrastructure, emergency services and shopping options. 

TBHS Principal Brian Brown said that structured activities, afterschool programs or a recreation center for kids would be beneficial. 

“I’ve seen a lot of new YMCAs in a lot smaller communities, same thing with rec centers, that do after-school programing, programming on the weekend,” Brown said. “Because I know we have a lot of kids that don’t have very much structured time on the weekends, and they like coming to school because we’re kind of a big family for them, and they don’t have much support at home.” 

Having those opportunities for grade school through high school students would give them a constructive outlet, Brown said. 

Ashley Rottler from Mercy Hospital Lincoln said the area needs more event locations that are unique – be it a wedding venue or entertainment event venue – but something family owned and operated. 

Other ideas and concerns put forward included a lack of 24-hour veterinary care, a desire for more family-style sit-down restaurants and the need for improvements on roadway and utility infrastructure. 

There was a wide mix in occupations represented by attendees, from educators to first responders. 

Missing from this most recent engagement, though, were restaurant owners and retail businesses; Chamber Executive Director Rachel South said the goal for the next session will be to engage those demographics. 

Other than a pair of attendees, South said everyone who’d been invited had attended the Jan. 29 roundtable. 

“We’ll probably do this one more time, just to get a couple more (people) in the room, and then we’ll probably follow it up with a survey that we’re going to try to disseminate to as many people as possible,” South said. 

The feedback South and Assistant Director Jenn McCord saw at the Jan. 29 roundtable was in line with what other groups of people have been putting forward.

“I don’t think there’s any curveball in there,” South said. McCord said more restaurant options are always a topic of discussion, and South added that infrastructure is always a concern too, especially as the county continues to grow. 

After the final roundtable meeting, South said work will begin on picking a path forward and selecting the biggest needs to take on. 

“We can’t tackle all of these things, but we may focus on one, do the research, see if there’s something that can come here,” South said. 

Tony Rothermich, administrator at Mercy Hospital Lincoln and Brett Siefert, administrator at the Lincoln County Health Department, were first-time participants in the Jan. 29 roundtable discussion.

“I’ll say it was great to have such a diverse group of people here,” Rothermich said. 

He said that others in his group voiced both a number of the same suggestions he had in mind, and others proposed entirely different concerns and solutions. 

Siefert said that hearing those echoes of affirmation were helpful, that while “we’re pretty secure in the knowledge of what we need,” hearing those ideas be reinforced by others can be beneficial. 

Getting to hear novel ideas and the nuanced perspective on familiar and new issues is also a big boon, Siefert said. 

“I think too what I liked hearing also was just to me, there’s optimism around where the community can go,” Rothermich said. “It’s just we have to get over a few hurdles in order to get there.” 

“Everybody sees the potential,” Siefert added. “Everybody wants it to happen, and wants to support it however they can.” 

Managing Editor

A certified wiz at playing tabletop war games and binge-watching anime, I spend far too much time on the internet. Also I run a couple of newspapers.

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