As the Independence Chamber of Commerce celebrated 100 years of memories and accomplishments, incoming chamber board Chair Sonci Bleckinger listed a festival park for SantaCaliGon as among the chamber's top priorities for 2020.

Bleckinger, of Central Bank of Midwest, told the crowd at Saturday's annual chamber centennial banquet at Arrowhead Stadium she wants to restart exploring a permanent facility for the SantaCaliGon Festival, the chamber's top fundraiser, that would host other community events throughout the year.

Another top priority, Bleckinger said, is to advocate for a possible community-owned broadband service. She said she also wants the chamber to push for more affordable quality housing and neighborhood safety and chamber member visibility and inclusivity.

The chamber honored Speaks Family Legacy Chapels as 2019 business of the year.

“The needs of the community change,” President/CEO Brad Speaks said in the acceptance video, “but how we help never changes.”

“What it comes down to,” Vice President David Speaks said, “is we serve families with our heart.”

Other honorees included:

• Jonathan Zerr, attorney with Kapke & Willerth, distinguished service award.

• Eric Knipp, Leone-Knipp Insurance Group, board member of the year.

• Jeff Griffith, Pinnacle Bank, ambassador of the year.

• Dwight Barnhard, lifetime membership honor.

– Mike Genet, The Examiner