Neighborhood Development Services, Inc. announced a $20,000 donation to the Ravenna Area Chamber of Commerce this week. The chamber said they will use the funds to address infrastructure needs.

Dave Vaughan, Director of NDS said he is looking forward to seeing the role the chamber will play in Ravenna’s future. “With the addition of the theater and brewpub to downtown, Ravenna is going to have a substantial evening and night business that it has not had for a very long time,” said Vaughan. “The chamber is perfectly positioned to maximize this evening population’s impact on local businesses.”

That impact is why NDS decided to make the donation. “Ryann and the Board of Directors work hard to promote the interests of the businesses in town.” Vaughan said, “We wanted to support them in a significant way to help them advance their goals for the city.”

Michael Hinton, president of the chamber, said he would like to see other organizations match NDS’s donation. “The sense of community is so strong. We want to keep that momentum going,” he said.

Hinton added, “If you’re not a member of the chamber, now is the time to join. If you are already a member, now is the time to invest in this group.”

Mayor Frank Seman said he is happy to see such support for the chamber. “There has been real growth in the chamber. They are building a strong leadership role in the community, and are using that role to advance the economic development of the City of Ravenna and Portage County.”

Seman added that support for community groups is crucial to the city’s growth. “What NDS is doing, building these types of partnerships, that is how we move forward.”

For her part, Ryann Kuchenbecker, the chamber director, said she was extremely thankful for the support from NDS.  “We are incredibly grateful. We look forward to serving our members and our community in a bigger capacity.” Kuchenbecker said.

Chamber vice president Amy Weidman knows the value of community service through the chamber. “I serve on the chamber board because I believe in Ravenna and I believe in connecting with the people in my community.” Said Weidman. “I know firsthand as a business owner how tough it can be to succeed. The chamber supports you. It’s great that people recognize that, and are supporting the chamber in turn.”

Weidman is the owner of Print and Sign Express and has served on the board for the past two years. “You’re a better business when you connect with your community,” she said.