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Fall is right around the corner and it will bring lots of photographic inspiration. This fall the Spearman Chamber of Commerce is hosting a local photo contest; this competition is looking for imagery that conveys the beauty around us in Hansford County. Competition entries will be accepted September 28, 2015, through November 6, 2015. To learn more about criteria and rules visit www.spearmantexas.org, or call 806-659-5555. A slideshow of top entries will be shown at the 2015 Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet, which will be held November 14th, and the winners will be announced. Top three winner’s photographs will be displayed at local businesses. First place will win $100 Spearman Bucks, second place $50 Spearman Bucks, and third place $25 Spearman Bucks.

Photo Contest Rules & Entry Form

 

The Spearman Chamber of Commerce invites you to Join us for our 2015 Annual Heritage Days Celebration!

The festivities will kick off with our 2015 Miss Hansford County Pageant, on Saturday, May 2nd followed by a Cinco de Mayo Celebration on Main Street on Sunday afternoon, May 3rd featuring live music and food vendors.  Saturday May 9th, the Hansford County Hospital District will host their annual rib cook-off and a children’s fishing tournament at Palo Duro Lake.  Our final weekend of Heritage Days will take place on May 14, 15th and 16th with events to include the Annual Rodeo in Gruver, the a parade, street entertainment, food and craft vendor booths.   Saturday night will end the three week Celebration with a family friendly BBQ dinner and a free concert on Main Street.  This year’s Main Event will feature the music of The Bellamy Brothers, a rising star in the Texas Music scene, Matt Caldwell, and female country star Kylie Rae Harris. 

What is Heritage Days?  Heritage Days is a special community event featuring great food, great music, booths from local vendors, games, contests, music and much, much more!  It's a celebration of our community with activities hosted by the Boy Scouts, the Lynx band and cheerleaders, local businesses, interesting citizens, the Station Masters Museum and the Windmill Association, to name a few, and most importantly is a venue to to showcase the things we love about Spearman. 

Why is Heritage Days important?  Hansford Heritage Days is an opportunity to celebrate who we are, where we have come from and where we are going.  The celebration provides a huge boost to the local economy as the event attracts more than 1,000 visitors to Spearman who patronize our businesses and spend money to eat at our local restaurants, stay in our hotels, and shop in our local stores, generating outside revenue which directly benefits our city and our citizens.

If you have any questions or are interested in a booth, parade entries or a sponsorship, please contact a board member or call me at the office 806-659-5555 for more information or visit our Heritage Days Website www.HansfordHeritageDays.com.

Recent announcements related to the development of new wind projects and the expansion of oil and gas exploration creates a positive impact to Spearman’s economy.  This news is good, as it means more jobs and a boost to the local tax base.  But this good news brings along with it some challenges for Spearman, especially as it relates to housing.

Over the past few months, the Spearman Economic Development Corporation (SEDCorp) Board and staff have been aggressively exploring options to improve the housing situation in Spearman, the plans include adding new options for short-term housing, such as apartments and rentals, as well as long term housing investments related to empty lots, vacant houses and areas around town for new development.

In late 2010 the SEDCorp approved a housing incentive program with the mission to promote job growth through housing options for potential employees and to increase the appraisal values of homes in Spearman.   Since its’ inception, the housing incentive program has successfully assisted in the construction of six new homes and plans are underway for five additional homes to be built as part of this program.  And even more importantly, the economic benefit has been substantial, allowing for new housing for our citizens while  having a positive impact on the resale value of our homes.

The newest phase (Phase III) of the housing incentive program, which was approved by SEDCorp as well as the City Council this month, provides for a total of $60,000 in assistance for approved home builders with interest in building projects inside the city of Spearman.  The program allows for payment of up to $5,000 toward the purchase of a land to be used for new home construction and repayment of up to $3,000 in interest on the construction loan, both of which are reimbursed to the builder upon final sale of the home.  Projects on SEDCorp land must start within 90 days of approval and homes must meet SEDCorp building standards which require a minimum of 1,350 square feet of living space, full brick exterior and a two-car or larger garage.

In addition to the incentive program, we will be launching a grassroots initiative to encourage landowners around Spearman with empty lots and/or vacant homes to talk with us about your property.  We have several local builders who are able to take on building projects immediately, but we have run out of available lots for these housing projects.  Your City leadership is exploring options for new development, which is an important part of the long term plan, but as you can imagine, putting in streets and curbs, utilities, and gas lines will be a long and very expensive process.  We need to open up our lots and home inventory now and we are encouraging landowners who share our vision for a strong, vital economy in Spearman, to touch base with us and I will personally stop by the fill you in on our plans.

Spearman is a great community and we want to encourage growth, and it’s of fundamental importance that we are able to provide our community with affordable and consistent housing options.  The current pressure on our city related to housing creates a unique opportunity for our community to step up with creative solutions.   Please support your local leaders on City Council and the SEDCorp board and share your thoughts and ideas as we move forward this important initiative.

This week we finally took down the Christmas decorations signaling the end of the holidays and the start of a new year.  In 2014 you can expect great things to happen in our small town as we launch new programs and projects here at the Chamber and EDC to spur business growth and expansion.

As part of our 2014 work, the Spearman Chamber has approved the launch of several new programs to benefit our local businesses and economy at large.  Beginning in February, the Spearman Chamber will host a monthly Business-2-Business (B2B) luncheon which will feature a speaker and business networking opportunities for local businesses.  The goal of these events is to provide information about current topics and also to create an environment to support the growth and expansion of current businesses as well as encourage new business start-ups.   Additionally we will organize regular business marketing events to encourage patronage at our local business.  We are currently looking for a business to partner with us each month on our B2B and marketing events.  Please contact me if you have an interest in these new programs.

In addition to our work to support our membership, the Spearman Chamber and EDC in partnership with the Spearman Community Fund and a group of concerned local citizens will be spearheading a special project to support our local Lyric Theatre’s project to upgrade and restore the Theatre.  You may have heard that Hollywood recently made a change in the format of their movies moving from a “film” format to a new “digital-only” format, which has forced the Lyric Theatre and other small theatres across the country to upgrade to the new, rather expensive technology in order to continue to receive the new releases and stay in operation.  If you have been to the Lyric theatre recently, you must know that a $7 ticket price is not enough to support upgrading to expensive technology.  The Chamber and EDC are working with Gary Ellsworth at the theatre to support his efforts both financially and with the people resources to make the needed upgrades.  You will start to see changes take shape at the theatre over the next few months -- beginning with a new digital system in the downstairs theatre which has been ordered and also a renovation of the outside marquee.  We hope to keep you posted on further developments regarding the theatre and to engage the community in our efforts to bring this part of Spearman history to its former glory.  If you have ideas or are interested in donating to support the Chamber & EDC in our efforts to assist the Lyric theatre, please contact me at the office 806-659-5555.

In 2014, I am excited about the future and the opportunity to work on great projects provide quality of life improvements in our community.   In 2014 you can expect positive things to be happening in Spearman.