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.
Eric said his priorities in his early work with the Chamber are to rebuild membership post-COVID-19 and to deliver on the organization’s value proposition to all members. He wants to welcome members from all walks of life, and he noted the Chamber has “a place for all businesses and organizations and employers.”
He sees four key areas of opportunity for the public and private sector to work on together, though added it is not an exhaustive list.
First is housing availability. He said the shortage of housing is a threat. We need more housing options, especially at lower price points. He pointed to the good news that Catalent plans to add 1,000 new jobs that will pay more than $30 an hour, but he worries whether there will be enough homes for these new employees to buy. He said more opportunities exist in the county than in the city simply because of available land.
Second is the need for expanded public transit, especially service to the west-side education and employment hub at Park 48 that includes Ivy Tech and Cook.
Third is the convention center expansion. He said an expanded center would give a “transformative boost” to our local economy, and he envisions significant progress in 2022.
Fourth is public safety. He said we need to fully fund public safety services in our community.
Eric noted that the recently passed local income tax increase adds hope to the issues of transportation and public safety needs.
He also stressed the Chamber’s commitment to education, building relationships with IU as well as the city and county, and being a positive player in helping address the issues of homelessness.
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