Members of the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce will join hundreds of business and community leaders from throughout southwest Missouri, northeast Oklahoma and southeast Kansas as they converge on Joplin to discuss regional issues.

Chambers of commerce from 13 area communities are coordinating the regional summit to be held on April 2 at the Holiday Inn of Joplin, 3615 Range Line Road. Those involved include the Anderson Area, Barton County, Carl Junction Area, Carthage, Columbus, Grove Area, Joplin Area, Miami Area, Neosho Area, Pineville/Jane Area, Pittsburg Area, Sarcoxie Area and Webb City Area Chambers of Commerce

Rob O’Brien, president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, said the summit will cover a number of issues vital to the future economic growth of the tri-state area. O’Brien pointed to transportation, workforce and higher education as just a few of the key topics of discussion.

“Creating a vision of what we want the tri-state state area to look like will not be a simple task, but the 13 area chambers of commerce in this region felt it was important to get some of our key leaders together to begin the dialogue,” he said.

O’Brien said that an even larger summit would likely be held later this summer.

“We didn’t want this first group to be so large that it might be difficult to stay focused on our objective,” said O’Brien. “It is possible to have too many people at the table, especially in the beginning. After this initial meeting, we’ll begin bringing in a number of other regional players to join us for our August meeting.”

Lisa Friden, president of the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, coordinated the efforts from Grove.

“I’m excited for our community to be included in this important first step toward regional development,” Friden said.

Those attending from Grove are Bruce Johnson, City of Grove; Jaime Zellow, PSO; Steve Williams, Williams Homes; Joy Justice, NE Technology Center; Greg Martin, INTEGRIS; Tom Steen, Grove Public Schools; Carol Fortner; Delaware County; Ivan Devitt, Lowe’s; Mike Thornberry, The Grove Sun and Ron Lefler, Bank of Oklahoma.

The April 2 regional issues summit will begin with a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m., followed by opening remarks and introductions at 8:15 a.m. A working lunch and joint news conference will be held at 12:30 p.m. with adjournment to follow at 1 p.m.

For more information, please call the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce at 786-9079.