Toronto Chamber discusses its future

TORONTO -The future direction the city chamber should take was discussed during the chamber’s Thursday luncheon meeting at the North River Avenue Christian Church.

Becky Latynski, chamber president, led a freewheeling discussion on the chamber’s next direction. She said while the chamber currently is financially solvent, more volunteers are needed to keep the organization viable.

“What would we like to see the chamber look like?” asked Latynski. “We are in a much better financial situation than in a very long time.”

She added the chamber board is active and meeting every two weeks, but to sponsor events, more chamber members needed to get involved.

“We actually need bodies (to volunteer),” she said, asking members in attendance for ideas. “We need some leaders to step up.”

One possible suggestion is teaming up with the Jefferson County Chamber or other organizations for business promotion activities. Other ideas included sponsoring chamber after hours social events and advertisement of the chamber and businesses in Toronto.

Bill Lucas, vice president, said without more member-volunteers the chamber can’t do much.

“The bottom line is we need people to participate,” he said. “In my opinion we need people to step up.

“I’m deeply frustrated (at the lack of involvement),” continued Lucas. “We need people to stand up. We need to have the horses to do things.”

Lucas said the same board members are the organization’s constant volunteers. He said the chamber is asking an hour or two a week for members to volunteer for different activities, such as updating the chamber’s website and Facebook page. It was said at the meeting other organizations have paid members that do the bulk of the work, but the Toronto Chamber is all-volunteer.

Chamber member Carolyn Walker said the chamber needs to become more visible and suggested an advertising campaign. Chamber member Bob Owen said he’d like to see more city businesses join the chamber.

All agreed the chamber also needs some fresh ideas.

In other business:

– It was announced a branch of the YMCA is moving into Riesbeck’s plaza and should be open by Tuesday.

– The chamber-sponsored Mike Shuma Healthy Heart Run/Walk is set for July 6, and volunteers are needed. Mike Biasi, co-organizer, said he hoped to attract more than 200 runners to the new event this year. Those interested can register early at

– It was announced the chamber had donated $1,000 to the city’s Fourth of July Committee for the fireworks show July 6 at the Toronto High School Stadium.

– It was announced the chamber’s annual high school scholarship was awarded to Toronto High School graduate John Rodesh.