|By Michelle Symington|
MetroWest Reminder Assistant Editor
WESTFIELD As the new executive director of the Westfield Chamber of Commerce, Lynn Boscher hopes to bring the Chamber to a new level and increase its presence in the city.
Boscher began his new job as the executive director and affiliate coordinator for the Westfield Chamber on Jan. 9 and has spent his first couple weeks on the job trying to get organized.
He said the Chamber office has not been fully operational for a few months because there was no executive director after the former director left the position.
Boscher said he is picking up where the former director left off to get "the Chamber back up and fully operational."
He said he has been spending some time meeting and interacting with people to "make Westfield one of the best places to do business."
Boscher said he became interested in the position of executive director "because it ties together a lot of issues, organizations and things I have been working on in years past into one package."
He explained that he has been a businessman in Westfield for over 30 years, has spent five years on the city's Planning Board and two years on the City Council.
He has also been involved in a number of community organizations, serving as president of the Westfield Rotary Club, president of the Greater Westfield Boys and Girls Club, president of St. Mary's PTO. He has also has been involved with the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and was a member of the Westfield Area Drug Council and the Westfield Community Development Corporation.
Boscher said his past experience will help him in his new position at the Chamber.
"It has given me a lot of contacts in Westfield," he said of his past experience. "Part of the Chamber's appeal is the networking that can occur in trying to create a good, healthy business climate conducive to good, responsible business growth that will benefit the community."
He said the Chamber currently has about 200 members.
The Chamber would love to have 100 percent business [participation]," he added.
He explained that businesses may become members of a Chamber of Commerce for a number of reasons. He said the Chamber offers networking, runs a number of programs and provides information about a number of topics, and keeps local businesses informed about area issues.
Since Westfield is a member of the Affiliated Chamber of Commerce of Greater Springfield, it has a greater influence on the state level because it allows several Chambers to bring issues to the Legislature instead of just one, according to Boscher.
Although Boscher is a business owner in Westfield, he left the Chamber because he did not like the direction in which it was heading. He recently rejoined as a member.
He said he is very excited about his new position.
"The Chamber is a real great organization," he said. "I think every business should be a member, although I just rejoined."
He added that the Chamber is going in the direction that business people can appreciate.
"The Chamber is going to be available," he said, adding that people can call him. He said if people get a recording, leave a message and he will get back to them quickly.
"Hopefully we will have an answer to their question," he said. "If I do not have an answer, we will get an answer."
One of the projects that Boscher is excited to continue in the Chamber is the creation of a Business Improvement District (BID).
"It is one of the best projects going for Westfield," he said.
He added that the BID is almost into the final preparations and will soon be presented to the City Council.
He owns commercial property downtown and was one of the first property owners to sign on to support the creation of BID, he said.
He added that the downtown area has been languishing.
A BID would have property owners pay additional taxes that the city will collect and the BID will determine how that money is spent to improve the businesses, according to Boscher.
He said projects could include facade improvements, extra police patrols or better lighting, for example.
Ali Salehi, chairman of the Board for the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce, said, "Lynn's experience as a business owner and community leader is a valuable asset to the Chamber and I am confident that together we will not only help member businesses grow, but also improve our regional economy."
Boscher is working out of the Chamber's office, which is located at 53 Court Street in the historic Clapp Tavern. The Chamber can be contacted at 568-1618.