A new group has formed to help move the city forward — the Hamburg Economic Development Team.

Georganna Cossey with the Hamburg Area Chamber of Commerce said the team has been working really hard and is already making a huge impact on the community.

“I believe great things will come of these efforts for Hamburg and this movement will be talked about for generations to come,” Cossey said.

Jana Williams with the economic development team said the idea of creating a group was talked about a few years ago and an unofficial group was formed at that time but more recently it developed and became the Hamburg Economic Development Team.

“This group was established a few years ago with the idea of economic change in mind but most recently became more active when we developed the Hamburg Economic Development Team in January of 2020,” Williams said.

The group is comprised of a handful of volunteers from Hamburg, she said.

The group is headed by Kristin Morris, Williams, Inez Barnes, Lezlie Foote, and Evan Owens, but Williams said many volunteers have been there to help along the way as well.

Cossey said the group has been very active over the past several months with fundraisers and events and has especially been working to promote the city on social media.

“They are committed to working alongside the Hamburg Chamber to help our businesses succeed,” Cossey said. “We couldn’t be more proud of everything that is going on in Hamburg right now.”

Williams said that they have enjoyed working closely with the chamber and that they really appreciate Cossey’s help and support.

“Georganna is always willing to help with projects and contribute her time and resources towards the cause,” Williams said.

The board for the economic development team consists of 12 individuals from Hamburg.

“Previously, the team worked on a volunteer only basis, which was great, but we needed more structure and organization,” Williams said.  

“We are hoping that the board of directors will bring that to the team and although we have a board of 12, anyone is invited and encouraged to volunteer and contribute at open meetings and events.”

Williams also said that COVID-19 has complicated the progress quite a bit, but they are hoping to hit the ground running as soon as the world opens up a little bit more.

Their main fundraiser so far this year was a community cookout plate sale that occurred in March.

They raised over $6,000 and all funds went to the downtown mural project.

“We wanted our first project to be a “Welcome to Hamburg” mural so we could have a visual representing all of the work we’ve been doing,” Williams said.

“Most of the work we do is behind the scenes and takes months and months of conversations, planning, and organizing, but we wanted something quick that the community could enjoy and be proud of.”

The mural was finished earlier in the summer and Williams said she hopes that it will be a place many people stop and take photos from here on out. She also said she feels like the project gave other citizens inspiration for improvement projects.

“Ever since the mural has been complete, many improvement projects have started to take place,” Williams said.

They are now in the process of working on a t-shirt featuring the mural design for their next fundraiser. Williams said those interested could watch their social media page as they develop this idea.

One of the ideas they’ve wanted to explore but was halted due to COVID-19 is the idea to bring or open a Wellness Center to Hamburg.

“This is something we feel our town needs and we are still working on potential funding and locations for this project,” Williams said.

The group has looked at restoring some of the vacant buildings in town, but nothing has officially been determined.

Williams said they are also focused on contacting entrepreneurs to start small businesses in Hamburg and discussing ways to bring new industry in.

“Many of these things take time, but there are definitely some things in the works,” she said. The group is comprised entirely of volunteers all of whom Williams said have full time jobs but dedicate time after work to participate in team meetings and activities.

In addition to working with the chamber, the group works closely with the city and the public school district, and Williams said that the support from the both has been very helpful.

“Mayor Dane Weindorf has been there to help us in any way possible since the very beginning and we can’t thank him enough for working closely with us; and Tracy Streeter has been a wealth of knowledge and insight and has always been willing to meet and help us in any way,” Williams said.

One of the main goals of the group is to encourage residents to take pride in their community and by doing that they also hope to encourage residents to support the community, and each other, by shopping local.

“We encourage everyone to continue, or start, to take pride in our small town so that future generations can enjoy it,” she said.

Williams said anyone interested in joining their team can follow their Facebook page for meeting times locations.

“Almost all of our meetings have been open, so anyone is invited to come and join in on the brainstorming,” Williams said. 

The group has different committees that focus on different goals, but anyone is welcome to join a committee. “We are always looking for very motivated and passionate individuals who are eager to help make positive change within our community,” Williams said.

The group’s Facebook page is regularly updated with information and Williams said they encourage residents to follow them to stay updated.

If you would like to make a private or public donation, you can email the team at hamburgecodevelopment@gmail.com.

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