Leslie Abshier was brought into the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors effective May 25, 2022.
"I am honored to join this group of community leaders to serve on the Board for the Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington. The Chamber has a strong history and reputation of supporting nonprofit members and I am pleased to be a part of that continued effort in the years to come."
Leslie Abshier has served as Resource Development Director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington since 2014. She has grown the organization from a $900,000 annual operating budget to a $3.2 million operating budget today. She successfully led an $11 million Capital Campaign for the Club in 2016. She leads a Resource Development Team of three professionals at the Club doing work in fundraising, events, marketing, communications, grants and donor relations.
Leslie has earned national and state recognition for her work in development at the Club. In 2020, she won the Resource Development Professional of the Year for the Midwest Region of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. She also won the Indiana Area Council of Boys & Girls Clubs Professional of the Year in 2021. She has earned awards locally, as well, including the Fast 15 MVP Award in 2021 and the 10 Under 40 Award from the Chamber’s Young Professionals Bloomington group in 2019.
Previously, Leslie worked two years in full-time ministry, and spent two years as Development Director at LIFEDesigns.
Leslie is a proud O'Neill Alum holding a Master’s of Public Affairs in Fund Development & Nonprofit Management, a Master’s Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship and a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Affairs all from Indiana University, Bloomington. Leslie enjoys giving back to her Alum Mater as an adjunct faculty at Indiana University teaching undergraduate students about the non-profit sector and fund development.
Leslie has lived in Bloomington since 2005 and is very active in the community. She has served on the Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association board, the Bloomington Historic Preservation Commission, Business Networking International (BNI) leadership, and with the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals group. She is also a volunteer staff member and teaching pastor at Genesis Church.
Leslie has been married to her husband Chris, a lifelong Bloomington resident, since 2011. She has two young sons, Jack and Charlie. The Abshiers like to fix-up their 100-year-old house, go antiquing, attend IU sporting events of all kinds, watch the Colts play football, visit local markets and shops, and are very involved in activities with their children.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Community Conversation on Lake Monroe to be held on Friday, June 3rd
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is inviting key stakeholders and interested parties for lunch and conversation on the future of Lake Monroe on Friday, June 3rd at the Golf Club at Eagle Pointe.
“This discussion will help guide future planning for Lake Monroe,” said Eric Spoonmore, the Chamber’s President & CEO. “As the primary water source for the region, the lake is one of the most critical resources in the greater Bloomington area, and we must steward it accordingly.”
What Lake Monroe Means. This body is the sole drinking water source for over 130,000 people and generates over $40 million in economic impact annually. The Lake Monroe watershed consists of over 440 square miles of land in Monroe, Brown, Lawrence, and Jackson Counties.
NOTE: This "It's Your Business" column by Chamber CEO Eric Spoonmore was published in the May 16, 2022 Bloomington Herald-Times.
Last week the Bloomington City Council unanimously approved a 51% increase to the local income tax rate that applies to all Monroe County residents. The tax increase will generate about $14.5 million in new annual revenue to fund additional economic development initiatives proposed by Mayor John Hamilton that address climate change preparedness, equity and quality of life, public safety and essential city services. Under the new local income tax rate, Monroe County government will also receive a new annual influx of $9.5million and the town of Ellettsville will receive roughly $1 million in new annual revenue.
While the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce did not support a 51% increase to the local income tax rate, we did support new revenue that would provide the needed resources to fully fund our public safety and law enforcement services as well as certain enhancements to public transit services. The Chamber calculated that these investments would cost Monroe County taxpayers $7 million or about half of the amount that the city of Bloomington ultimately approved.
NOTE: This article with Chamber President and CEO, Eric Spoonmore, was originally published on May 13, 2022 in Limestone Post Magazine by Steve Hinnefeld.
Monroe Convention Center opened in 1991 in the Graham Auto Sales building (built in 1923) at the corner of West 3rd Street and South College Avenue. Even then, local tourism officials argued it needed to be larger to attract even medium-size conventions. Now, though, some officials wonder if this is the right time to expand. | Photo by Limestone Post
For a time, it looked like the long-discussed expansion of the Monroe Convention Center was about to come to pass. Bloomington and Monroe County officials were talking about how to make it happen. They didn’t always agree, but they were talking. Hopes for progress were high.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and everything shut down: tourism, travel, and talk of expanding the center.
Now business leaders and some local government officials want to reboot the process, but they may face an uphill fight. Key decision makers in county government aren’t convinced that now is the time to expand the convention center. Or even that expanding is a good idea.
“I just feel we’re in such a time of flux and uncertainty, it doesn’t make sense to move forward with a huge project without knowing what’s coming,” says Julie Thomas, president of the Monroe County board of commissioners.
The Monroe Convention Center opened in 1991 in a former car dealership at 302 S. College Ave. Almost from the start, local tourism officials argued it needed to be larger. A 2003 Herald-Times column lamented that the center was “considered too small to attract even medium-sized conventions.”
It took years of lobbying, but finally local leaders got the Indiana General Assembly to authorize a 1 percent food and beverage tax to fund the convention center expansion or “related tourism or economic development projects.” That was in 2009. Then it took until December 2017 for the Monroe County Council to vote, 4-3, to impose the tax, despite vocal opposition.
“That was the hard part, the big, heavy lift,” says Eric Spoonmore, president and CEO of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. “But there’s been no progress since.”
NOTE: This article with Chamber CEO Eric Spoonmore was published in the May 12, 2022 Bloomington Rotary Club's weekly newsletter "Roundabout"
Jim Bright introduced Eric Spoonmore, president and CEO of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. Eric started the job on Dec. 1, 2021.
Eric said he was particularly pleased to be in the IMU, where he got married. He and his wife met while both were working at Macri’s Deli, a place many of you will remember.
He grew up on the west side of Indianapolis; his father was a teacher and his mother a nurse. He came to Bloomington as an IU undergraduate in 2000 and never left. He received his bachelor’s degree in local government management and his master’s in public management from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, now the O’Neill School.
He worked at the IU Kelley School of Business, and “got the itch for politics” in 2015, when he won a seat on the Monroe County Council. He served six years.
NOTE: This Noon Edition interview with Chamber CEO Eric Spoonmore was published in the May 5, 2022 WFIU Noon Edition by Nathan Moore.
Noon Edition airs on Fridays at noon on WFIU.
Monroe County homeowners should expect higher property taxes next year.
With the increase in home prices and construction of the new hospital, values of homes in Monroe County are rising. According to an article from The Herald Times, values for homes in Monroe County have risen 15% in the past year. With the construction of the new hospital, the county’s assessments have risen $1.9 billion, a record increase for a single year.
Furthermore, homeowners who have improved their homes or who live in a highly desired area can see an even higher increase in home value. This rise in value also can raise the value of neighboring homes. On top of it all, concerns of continuing inflation may affect the housing market.
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