28th Chamber Annual Meeting Celebrates "A Year Of Building"

A Busy Year At Copper Valley Chamber Of Commerce 

The Wrangell Mountains as you drive down the Glenn Highway. 
The Greater Copper Valley Chamber of Commerce celebrated 28 years of uninterrupted operations. The region's small, volunteer-run organization has kept its visitor center open, without fail, all summer long, for all that time. 

This is an unusual achievement, culminated this summer with the renovation of the visitor center, and an increase in travelers, coming in to see the upgraded Chamber member tourism displays of services offered in the Copper Valley.

The meeting was well-attended, and held at the Fireweed Grill (formerly the Caribou.) There was an excellent dinner of baked chicken and mashed potatoes.

Guest speaker at the meeting was Laurine Regan, the new executive director at the Valdez Convention & Visitors Bureau. Valdez is interested in working with the Copper Valley to promote the Glenn & Richardson Highways as "Alaska's Adventure Corridor."

The Copper Valley Chamber has had an exceptionally busy year. 

Here is a rundown of events:

The Year In Review: Greater Copper Valley Chamber Of Commerce's 2014 List Of Activities, Projects & Events

• Annual Christmas dinner at Brown Bear Roadhouse.

• Moved into Ahtna Building office for the winter.

• Began renovation of Visitor Center in December, 2013.

Tore down existing panels and cleaned Visitor Center to walls.
Remade the office with a ceiling, walls.
Created a wall along the back to created a new water room space
Built a floor-to-ceiling wall on the north end of the Visitor Center.
Rewired and put in energy-efficient lighting in the Visitor Center.
Put switches in walls and lights in office ceiling.
Put in a clean-out and replaced pipe under the Visitor Center.
Installed electric lines under the Visitor Center for podium panels.
Bought and installed sub floor plywood and new flooring.
Installed wood base board molding along walls.
Designed and built new panel displays along the back of the Visitor Center.
Installed electric outlets for back panels.
Designed and built log-finished center “podium” displays for middle.
Reinstalled cabinets with new wood counter tops.
Installed water tank, pump, water lines, heater and bathroom fixtures.
Removed old double door and replaced it with a single door.
Built windows on sides of doors.
Brand new ramp, steps and railings for entrance to the Visitor Center.
Painted door and window trim.
Painted outside porch wall and porch rails, roof supports and trim.

• Great Russian January Dinner at Tonsina River Lodge.

• “Liars Dinner “ at Club 96 Restaurant in Old Town Copper Center on February 27th.

• Gas Line Dinner with Larry Persily at Tolsona Lake Resort in March.

• “Get Ready for Summer” Meeting at Lake Louise Lodge in April.

• Linda Padie and Naomi Young raised money for community sign project.

• The City of Valdez donated $10,500 so new steps, a porch and a handicap

ramp could be installed in time for the grand opening of the Visitor Center.

• Over the course of several work days, Naomi Young, Linda Padie and John

Becker along with others, put in the displays and panels so the Visitor Center
could open on time.

• Had a Grand Opening for the Visitor Center on May 3rd.

• Wells Fargo employees ran a Hot Dog Feed and John Becker and Lynn Graham

organized a Hockey Club Car Wash with the Kenny Lake Fire Department
while local fiddlers and musicians entertained the community.

• Copper River School District Presentation at Gakona Lodge for our May Meeting.

 Greg and Jo Boyd organized, got prizes and ran the 4th of July Parade.

• LaShonda Huckabey organized and ran the 4th of July Raffle with help from

John Becker.

• We kept the Visitor Center open 7 days a week from May 15th - September

15th. We had more visitors than ever, with the count on many days exceeding
300 people. But best of all, people went all the way to the back of the room and
spent much more time in the Visitor Center. Increasing the amount of time people
spend in the Visitor Center was a primary goal of the redesign.

• In July, the Governor approved the Copper Valley Heat and Sign grant.

• In August, we hosted a luncheon for Senator Lisa Murkowski.

• In September, we had our second annual Chili Cook-off.

• In October, Bruce Cain organized a “Meet the Candidates Night” in cooperation

with the Copper River School District. We had a good showing of eleven candidates
running for office and many members of the public. Bruce not only
organized the event with Naomi Young and Gary Wilford, but served as the
night’s moderator.

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