LAST ACT: Liberty-Dayton Chamber donates remaining assets to local non-profits

Milton Fregia and Jennifer Chavira hold up one of the checks that will be given to seven local non-profits from the proceeds of the sale of the Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce office. Fregia is the owner of Fregia Insurance Services and a remaining chamber board member and Chavira is the former chamber director.

In one of its final acts of dissolution, the Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce is divvying up the proceeds of the sale of its former headquarters to several local non-profits.

The Chamber board and staff announced in April 2022 that the Chamber was being dissolved due to economic woes and a declining membership that were exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chamber office, located at 1801 Trinity St. in Liberty, was put up for sale and later purchased for $180,000 by Liberty County. The building will be used in the future for county office space.

Once roughly $141,000 in debt was paid and other costs were covered from the building sale, that left about $35,000 to the Chamber, which remaining Chamber board members and former Chamber CEO Jennifer Chavira now have elected to split among seven local charities. The recipients are South Liberty County Meals on Wheels, Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), ACA American Craniofacial, SpiritHorse, Operation Blue Remembrance, South Liberty County Scholarship Foundation and the Liberty County Child Welfare Board (which operates the Rainbow Room that assists children in emergency removals from their homes).

Chavira said the Chamber board was doing its best to make lemonade out of lemons.

“We wanted to give back to the organizations that support the local community. All our debts are now paid and the building is sold. This is all that was left for us to do,” said Chavira.

Being a part of the winddown of the Chamber, which was once a vital part of the Liberty and Dayton communities, has been difficult, she added.

“People call me all the time saying they want to put something together for local businesses. It’s obvious that the community and its businesses still yearn to network and get together,” she said. “Even though the Chamber is not around to make these connections, the people in the community can still get together. Someone just has to take the bull by the horns and make it happen. Eventually the community is going to grow and will need a Chamber. We did the best we could given the circumstances. We had such an upswing. It’s heartbreaking honestly that it ended this way.”

Chavira, who now works as an independent marketing representative, is encouraging those who contact her to form a networking organization and to continue supporting each other’s businesses in any way they can.

“At the end of the day, the community still needs to come together, they still want to build something together and they still want to network. Maybe someone will be inspired to do something,” she said.

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