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Hernando County chamber takes wing, moves to airport

Chamber president Pat Crowley says the group will now be able to partner with others.

Chamber president Pat Crowley says the group will now be able to partner with others.

BROOKSVILLE — The Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce will move its headquarters to the Hernando County Airport in 2010, putting it in the center of booming commercial and industrial development.

The chamber, which leases offices in Brooksville and Spring Hill, closed Friday on a 4,300-square-foot building at 15588 Aviation Loop Drive, according to president Pat Crowley.

Another business is currently leasing the building so the chamber cannot move in until that lease runs out. But Crowley said the time will give the chamber's leadership the chance to talk about what it wants to do with the existing offices.

The office in Spring Hill will likely be incorporated into the new central office at the airport but no decision has been made on what to do with the Brooksville office, which is on county-owned land in the heart of downtown.

The Brooksville office is extremely busy with people coming in seeking all kinds of information, Crowley said.

"They can find us even when they can't find the county building or City Hall,'' she said. Both the government buildings are visible from the front of the chamber building.

Finding a site to purchase began a half dozen years ago. "Then the building boom happened, so property became very expensive,'' Crowley said.

Several sites were considered and the real hope was to find something centrally located, possibly along State Road 50, but nothing ever came together, she said. Then, the airport opportunity opened up.

The new office will allow the chamber to be able to host its own committee meetings and workshops, activities which they now rely on members with larger meeting rooms to host. Ultimately the goal is to provide more service both to the chamber's members and the community, Crowley said.

She said there will also be prospects of partnering with other groups for activities helping the community. "It's exciting,'' she said. "We've never owned anything before.''

The bonus of the airport site is that it is an area with growing commercial, manufacturing and retail activities. The airport itself is building a new office on the site and the county's Office of Business Development under Mike McHugh will also move from downtown Brooksville to the new airport office.

"That whole area is going to boom in the next five to seven years,'' Crowley said. "It's going to be wonderful that we're sitting in the midst of it.''

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando County chamber takes wing, moves to airport 03/17/08 [Last modified: Monday, March 17, 2008 8:09pm]
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