October 29, 2014

Hunterdon Healthcare & Hunterdon Chamber
Health & Wellness Networking Breakfast
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Hunterdon Medical Center

President`s Message

October 2014

As this goes to print we are in the midst of the fall season, which is a great time of transition both with the breathtaking autumn colors that will fill our landscape here in Hunterdon County. Additionally as we prepare to take stock of what we accomplished this year, what still has to be completed by years end and what lies ahead into 2015. This fall we will have launched our fourth Leadership Hunterdon Class, have ten participants who will grow in their leadership skills and be immersed in the diversity of issues that face our County.

This month the Hunterdon County Freeholders will be releasing the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, CEDS, for Hunterdon County. The Chamber along with many other organizations, municipalities and individuals have been working on this strategy for the better part of a year. The ultimate goal has been to identify key projects and initiatives that will shape the future of the economy here in Hunterdon County for the next 20 years.

If you look back over the growth our County has seen and specifically that growth in our Business Community we are at a very different point in time. With this analysis of seeing many of our steadfast large employers leave our County or downsize the pressure has been felt on many fronts. First the number of employment opportunities in our County is down from where they were at their peak. The numbers of commercial sites that sit partially filled or vacant are up dramatically. Additionally the municipalities that rely on commercial ratable have seen a decline and have had to make up the difference either but cutting services or increasing residential taxes.

The Chamber will look to take an active role in many of the initiatives that ultimately will work towards improving our economy here in Hunterdon. The Chamber’s focus around Economic & Workforce Development over the course of the last 3 years has been two fold. First we championed and presented the formation of the Flemington Business Improvement District to the Borough of Flemington. The County Seat of Hunterdon has seen a steady decline over a period of many years. Business Improvements Districts in New Jersey and around the Country are a proven Economic Development Strategy that when implemented over a sustained period of years the ultimate revitalization and vibrancy of Flemington will have regional impact.

Our other area of focus has been to champion the resources that the Business Community has to tap into can succeed. As we announced this past February at the Chamber’s annual meeting we have formed the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Some very exciting news will be coming in the months ahead, all of which will have lasting impact on our community. I am very excited about this season of change and the work that is underway will truly make a difference.

With best regards,

Christopher J. Phelan

President & CEO