Daniel C. Colantone: Welcome home, LeBron

Akron and Northeast Ohio are special places. This can be seen every day, but came through loud and clear as LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his written statements, the things he said, what he has done this summer, including his Wheels for Education, the continuing efforts of the LeBron James Family Foundation, and the total exuberance of Akron’s welcome home events.

We at the Greater Akron Chamber know his story is not unique. While they may not have the glamour of LeBron’s, there are hundreds of homecomings each year in the Greater Akron region. People come home to raise their families, for education at all levels, because of relocation by their companies and for many other reasons.

Located within 500 miles of 42 major cities, yet surrounded by more than 40,000 acres of parkland, Greater Akron provides living and working environments to suit every lifestyle. Our area is unique in its versatility, boasting a low cost of living, outstanding cultural access and ever-growing employment opportunities.

The Greater Akron Chamber’s No. 1 focus is on improved quality of life through economic development. We work constantly with businesses, education and government to develop our shared community to be the best it can be. We want to help bring more people home and help our region continue to improve.

Much to offer

This is a good place to live, grow and achieve. LeBron is a high-profile example — a very high-profile example — of the need for Northeast Ohio, including the Greater Akron region, to build, maintain and attract talent. It’s why P-16 education is crucial. It’s why a vibrant arts community and healthy countryside are so important; why organizations from the many young professionals organizations to the Akron Area Arts Alliance to the Summit Education Initiative focus on talent development; why high-quality downtown living, sustained entrepreneurial energies and corporate innovation must continue to be shared goals. It’s why collaboration and cooperation must be by-words.

What does great mean to you? Ambition, accomplishment, opportunity, growth? For the Greater Akron Chamber, it is all of the above. The chamber has long worked to improve the quality of life through economic development in the three-county region we serve.

Ensuring prosperity

The chamber is reaching out to members and friends, asking for their participation at a higher level of investment and engagement. We need many forward-thinking community and business leaders to ensure prosperity in our region. The Greater Akron region is more than Akron.

The Greater Akron Chamber is the only organization in Ohio, and one of 36 in North America, named an Accredited Economic Development Organization by the International Economic Development Council. We take our mission seriously and have the results to prove it. Those who support this mission as our members, friends and investors are in a position to participate in its success, to make things happen. We thank them all. And, of course, thank you, LeBron.