January 15, 2014 Edition

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Cavenaugh plans to connect
Chamber with community

Fran Cavenaugh (right), who recently began her term as Chamber of Commerce chair, speaks with L.J. Bryant, economic development director, about an upcoming meeting on Tuesday at the Chamber of Commerce Office conference room.
Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

Fran Cavenaugh recently came into office as the 2014 chair of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Board. She hopes to increase collaboration between the Chamber and the community.

Cavenaugh said her main goal is in community revitalization and beautification. She hopes to begin monthly cleanups, which will allow community and Chamber members to come together and improve the appearance of Lawrence County.

Specific areas that need attention will be selected ahead of time; areas could be public areas or private property that the resident has trouble caring for due to health or age.

Cavenaugh said the Chamber is there to bring in new businesses, residents and tourists.

"Walnut Ridge and Lawrence County have a lot to offer, but we don't always show that."

Other projects, such as installing new welcome signs at Walnut Ridge and Hoxie and painting some of the buildings in downtown Walnut Ridge, will also aide in the beautification of the area.

Cavenaugh said that the projects are starting in Walnut Ridge because that's where the Chamber's office is located, but plans to work throughout Lawrence County are in the works.

"My hope is once other people see us cleaning, then they will clean their own property and it will be a snowball effect," she said.

Building better relations with the agriculture community is also high on Cavenaugh's list for the Chamber's future. She said she realizes that Lawrence County is a farming community and the Chamber should do more to provide training and resources to assist farmers.

She also wants to give more attention to some of Lawrence County's more unsung attractions and bring more tourism in. She said events like Beatles at the Ridge have done great things but there are other attractions such as the Clover Bend School, Stan Jones' Mallard Lodge, the Wings of Honor Museum and Lake Charles that the Chamber can also help promote.

Cavenaugh looks forward to her work as Chamber chair and with the community of Lawrence County.

"I want the community to be involved with the Chamber and not have the Chamber remain the select few. I want this to be the community's Chamber," she said.

Other Chamber officers were elected at the Jan. 8 meeting. Dina Hufstedler is the chair-elect, Gretchen Hunt is the member at large and Anthony Pinkston is vice chair. Dr. Brett Cooper is the outgoing chair for 2013.

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