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Chamber reopens following renovations

After a fire swept through town one day in 1917, the building at 200 Main St. was the only one left standing.

The building served as a jail, and then City Hall, before becoming the Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce in the 1950s.

Such a history prompted officials to work hard to preserve the circa 1917 essence of the building during its recent renovation and expansion.

The building, which opened two weeks ago, has grown by 1,122 square feet, and now includes a boardroom, public restroom, business resource center and more office and storage space.

"When we were in our original structure, we were on top of each other," said Linda Marshall, economic development officer. "The chamber has grown. We needed more space."

Construction on the building began about six months ago. The project cost about $250,000 and was funded by chamber members, the city and Jacobsen Manufacturers. During the construction, the chamber operated out of a building across the street.

Chamber staffers are still moving everything over to the new building. The business resource center, which will have a computer, fax machine and copier, should be up and running in the next few weeks. The chamber is also planning workshops for potential business owners.

"While there's still boxes out, it looks beautiful," said Cindy O'Donnell, executive director of the chamber. "We're very pleased and excited to be here."

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