Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Washtenaw County Leaders Celebrate Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Merger

Over 300 Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Chamber Members and elected officials crowded into the meeting space at Washtenaw Community College’s Morris Lawrence Building for the First Tuesday Breakfast of 2010. This was the first open event where joint Chamber President Diane Keller addressed the merger of the chambers.

In attendance of the event was Washtenaw Community College President Larry Whitworth, Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center Directors Charles Penner & Richard King, Ann Arbor SPARK CEO Mike Finney, and Chair of Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce Karl Couyoumjian, among other noted community members.

As many are concerned with the cost and support of the new organization Keller stated, “We will be run as if we were entrepreneurs and it’s our own money. We will make sure we spend your dollars toward economic development in this community." Although the new due schedule is yet to be determined Keller advised members to pay as currently scheduled and the new chamber will retain their anniversary date.

Currently members of both chambers also have the opportunity to attend all scheduled Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Chamber events. “You can now go back and forth to both chambers for same member price,” said Keller.

Currently the new Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Regional Chamber is split between two offices in the downtown area of both cities. The chamber is turning to members as well as the community to determine a locale. Possibilities include one main office with smaller satellite offices, or two smaller offices in each area. Members are able to voice their opinions and concerns through email to

This merger is the first step in taking down the "invisible wall" at the intersection of Washtenaw Avenue and US-23. The community is striving to join together all resources and support for two of the largest cities in Washtenaw County. “We hope to be a model of prosperity in our community,” Keller said

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