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Chamber moves to new location

April 18, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce is now residing at the former Keepsake's store, which is located in the same building as Gulf Access Realty in Matlacha.

"I would like to thank and commend the Pine Island Chamber Board of Directors and its many members who worked selflessly to make this happen in such a short time," Chamber President John Paeno said.

Technical support will be set up early next week, he said, and they expect the office to be fully operational by the end of the week. Paeno said they could use some brochure racks for the new Welcome Center, and picnic tables for the new site by the water and the old site for the public to use.

"Please let us know if anyone wants to donate," he said.

The chamber originally wanted to put a temporary trailer on the old site and rebuild another welcome center on the same property. But in order to achieve that, Paeno said they had to go through all the permitting and preliminary work.

Chamber officials met with the county for a preplan meeting during the first week of April, so they could find out what their options are for rebuilding. Paeno said they learned that rebuilding on site would be too costly, restrictive and time consuming to continue with.

"The old property is zoned agricultural and would require a zoning change to make building modifications. The lot would need to be brought up to present codes among other things that would need to be done," he said.

Paeno said they are really restricted with what they can put on the old site. In other words, he said, they are only able to put back the same exact building on the site as there was before.

"It puts us in the position that we are not really sure," he said of what they should do.

The chamber is currently seeking a permanent location and building for its welcome center.

"The board and members will use the next six months to work on a plan for a permanent location for the future," Paeno said.

He took office in January, and called a special meeting immediately to elect new officers to move forward at a faster pace.

"This board has been meeting at least two times a month, the executive board more than that," Paeno said.

He said he commends his board for its efforts and dedication to rebuilding the chamber.

"The work and dedication they have formed and it didn't disrupt our services," Paeno said. "We have actually accomplished a lot in the very short period of time."



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