HENDERSON, Ky (WEHT) – The Henderson Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Henderson Partnership (DHP) have announced that their organizations will merge beginning April 1, according to a press release by the Henderson Chamber of Commerce.
The Henderson Chamber of Commerce says the boards of each organization made the decision to join up and streamline their individual missions following a two-month period of study by a merger committee made up of members from both organizations.
According to a press release by the Henderson Chamber of Commerce, the idea was launched when the Chamber hired DHP Director Lindsay Locasto on October 29 to become its new president replacing Ellen Redding, who retired. The Henderson Chamber of Commerce said that then-DHP Chairman Curt Hamilton suggested that it would be a good time to explore the opportunity to collaborate since the organizations have had compatible missions.
According to a press release by the Henderson Chamber of Commerce, DHP actually began its life as an organization within the Chamber organization, then called Downtown Henderson Project, before it branched out on its own to primarily focus on initiatives of the Main Street program. The Henderson Chamber of Commerce says that in recent years, DHP has shifted that focus from the Main Street program to ramp up its organization and presentation of downtown events, work on beautification and streetscape improvements and support downtown businesses in its membership base.
The Henderson Chamber of Commerce says that with the merger, DHP will become a division of the Chamber, and will continue to organize events and work on its other goals. Locasto said the DHP’s previous events, including Porchfest, July 4th Fireworks Celebration and Art Hop, will continue.
“We are encouraged and excited to see these two entities coming back together and working as one to grow Henderson and Henderson County,” said Doug Lawson, chairman of the Henderson Chamber of Commerce board of directors.
“This is an example of what can happen when we decide to put the future of our community first,” Lawson added. “The future is bright, and we are all looking forward to seeing the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Henderson Partnership and the entire community flourish under common leadership and direction.”
Locasto explained that there will be “one streamlined membership” to both organizations with all members enjoying the benefits previously offered by each organization. “The membership will present a greater value,” Locasto said, “and will be in the best interest of the community.”
According to a press release by the Henderson Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber will hire a full-time staff member to assist with event planning and the DHP’s other initiatives that will now be added to the work of the Chamber’s Workforce/Education, Agriculture, Government Affairs and Membership missions.
“The Chamber and DHP share the same mission of advancing the interests of Henderson County businesses with DHP focusing specifically on businesses downtown,” said Sean Wilder, board chairman for DHP. “It makes perfect sense for us to combine our efforts to pursue our common goals rather than continuing to work in parallel. We believe that the whole of the two organizations will be much greater than the sum of its parts.”