The history of 150 years of service to business and industry
One of the Chamber's major accomplishments was its role in the development of a city plan for Cincinnati. In 1912 it urged the appointment of a planning commission. The eventual result was the City Plan of 1925, which was hailed as the most comprehensive such plan of any city in the United States. It became the forerunner of the 1948 Master Plan, subsequent updates in the early 1960s, and eventually the Year 2000 Plan, under which the city currently operates. Good planning and good follow-through have long been identified as Cincinnati strengths, and the Chamber takes pride in its early role.
In 1915 the Chamber protested vehemently against making Louisville the terminus of the "Dixie Highway" and successfully urged Cincinnati as the logical end point. In the late 1940s the Chamber led the successful effort to enact the Ohio Valley Water Sanitation Compact, a pioneering environmental proposal. A year later a long campaign by the Chamber ended successfully with the passage of an urban redevelopment bill by the Ohio legislature.
As Cincinnati grew more suburban and became an eight-county metropolitan area in the mid-1960s, the Chamber changed its name to the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce to reflect its role as an organization representing businesses throughout Southwestern Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana.
Beginning in 1965 the Chamber led the campaign to build Riverfront Stadium to attract a National Football League franchise and head off the threat of the Cincinnati Reds moving from the city.
Image studies in the 1960s and 1970s identified that while Cincinnati did not have a negative national image, it also did not have a positive one. In effect Cincinnati lacked an image. An "Action Cincinnati!" campaign began in 1971 to promote Cincinnati's economic development advantages regionally and nationally. This program gave way to the "Blue Chip Campaign for Economic Development" in the 1980s, and the Chamber undertook the role of coordinating economic development.
To write the history of the Chamber would be tantamount to writing a history of the city itself, for, as Charles Ludwig noted, the Chamber has been involved in virtually every significant city development since its inception.
In 1839 they called it the promotion of "mercantile interests;" 150 years later the term has changed to "economic development." Throughout the years, however, the basic purpose, mission and objectives of the Chamber have remained remarkably unchanged: to serve its members by improving the city's economic vitality and quality of life, luring business investment and helping businesses be better businesses, creating jobs and a better community for all.
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