Clermont 2001 was a result of an initiative that began more than 25 years ago. In October 1988, Ed Parish and Bill Over convened a group of community leaders to have a conversation about the future of Clermont County. This meeting launched a year-long endeavor that engaged more than 350 citizen-volunteers to create a vision for the future for Clermont County. The recommendations that came out of this effort were compiled into a report titled “Clermont 2001.” Clermont 2001 called upon citizens, business leaders, elected officials and community groups to pursue key economic development and quality-of-life initiatives over the ensuing decade.
A call to create an “Agenda for the Future of Clermont County” came from a new generation of leaders in 2012. They concluded that while the Clermont 2001 initiative produced a number of very positive outcomes in Clermont County, a great deal had changed in our community in the past 25 years. The Community Agenda project was launched thanks to the generous support of Duke Energy.
Community leaders began this process with two goals in mind:
1. Create a strategic plan that would build on the best of Clermont County.
2. Involve a new generation of residents in the process.
Subsequently, 500 community members attended more than 50 community conversations held throughout Clermont County. Recurring values and themes were identified and work teams were built around these themes. An actionable set of recommendations to move the County forward was outlined in the form of the 23 goals that were condensed into four major themes: Jobs, Education, Health and Vibrancy. For a full list of the 23 goals, click here.
With an action plan outlined, it became clear that further structure and funding would be needed to implement the agenda set forth by the community. Connect Clermont was formed as a new 501(c)3 for that purpose. Connect Clermont’s Board of Directors is responsible for guiding the process and ensuring the voice of each resident is heard and valued.
The second part of the action plan involves connecting community initiatives with resources. Working with community partners, the board is prepared to evaluate and grant funding for projects that advance the Agenda goals. The first community partner to step up was Duke Energy, which has agreed to provide $750,000 over three years, part of which will be distributed in the form of grants for community projects. The board continues to work with other community partners to gather additional resources.
Organizations in Clermont County are invited to apply for grants. Grants will be evaluated based on how well they address one or more of the 23 goals identified through the original Agenda for the Future initiative. For a full list of the 23 goals, click here.
So many individuals have had a part in this process and many more volunteers will be needed as this initiative continues to move forward. Many thanks go out to each individual and organization that volunteered and supported this project, especially key partners – Clermont Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Duke Energy, United Way and the Community Building Institute at Xavier – for their support and financial contributions.