The Jeuns

‘Innovating with Lance Willard’

May 7, 2024 | by The Jeuns

During National Small Business Month, The Business Journal asked readers to nominate innovators who are making a difference in their communities. One such individual is Lance Willard, the City Manager of Columbiana.

Under Willard’s leadership, Columbiana has experienced a remarkable transformation in recent years. The population has grown, new businesses and homes have been established, and the downtown area has become vibrant once again. This revitalization can be attributed to Willard’s efforts in marketing the city’s comprehensive plan and implementing the Community Reinvestment Act tax abatement program.

Willard’s innovative approach extends beyond traditional city business responsibilities. He engaged with a high school entrepreneurship class to gather ideas for modernizing the downtown area, resulting in the implementation of two plans with a third in the works. Additionally, when the future of the Main Street Theater was at risk, Willard rallied community and business leaders to preserve this cultural landmark for future generations.

Nominated by Rick Noel, Willard’s dedication to driving positive change in Columbiana has not gone unnoticed. The Business Journal commends his commitment to innovation and community development in this thriving city.

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