Residents start mapping out the future


CLINTON COUNTY — Local residents discussed their love of Clinton County and their visions for the county’s future Wednesday evening.

The Clinton County 2040 long-range planning process kicked off with its first workshop, held virtually.

The Clinton County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) is seeking the public’s ideas for the future of the county as it kicks off the planning process.

Sarah Kelly, a Columbus-based city planning consultant with Planning NEXT, told attendees county planning is something they’re passionate about and they consider it a privilege to get to know the county.

“We really want to orient you to the project, let you know what this comprehensive plan is really all about,” said Kelly. “We want to start getting ideas from you about the future, and hopefully those ideas are going to be able to shape the future.”

A comprehensive plan is the broadest public policy document a community can create for its future physical development that considers the input of community members.

The plan update will address the future build character and land uses in the county, and it will present recommendations on other topics including economic development, housing, transportation, parks and open spaces, agricultural preservation and more.

“It’s long-range in nature,” said Kelly. “It’s not a plan for next year or even the next couple of years. It’s really looking out the next seven, eight to 10 years and trying to anticipate how we’re going to want to see the county grow within that time frame.”

She told attendees that, through the engagements with the public, they’ll document all comments, summarize the talking points, and they’ll come back in the fall with some formulated plans for the community.

It has been 16 years since the last update to the county’s plan.

During the discussion, Kelly pointed out the age demographics in Clinton County are mostly older, the median household intake is “not so far off” from the overall state median, and she highlighted the housing demographics in the county.

Participants took part in a questionnaire in which they were asked their age group, about their work commute, and what they feel are Clinton County’s greatest assets.

Responses included the Murphy Theatre, a tight-knit community, and a “great place for families.”

The chat broke off into two groups; each discussed specifics about what they want to see in the county. Some responses included believing the county should embrace a stronger business-focused downtown, increasing education, and education in entrepreneurial aspects.

They were also asked what they would and would not want to see “physically change” about Clinton County. One said they’d like to see more home ownership instead of rentals.

How to engage

In this first round of public engagement, there are three ways to participate:

1. Virtual workshops; the next is noon to 1 p.m. this Friday, April 30; register at

2. In-person workshops will be held at outdoor venues:

• Thursday, May 13 at the Denver Park shelters in Wilmington from 3:30 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 8:30 p.m.

• Thursday, May 20 at the Cowan Lake shelters from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

In-person events will require masks and social distancing; in-person events also have limited capacity, so please RSVP following the links below.

3. Online activities that can be completed between now and May 23 at .

Anyone who cares about Clinton County is encouraged to participate in this process. Register for any of the forums at .

More information can be found at or by contacting the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission at 937-383-5847 or via email at [email protected] .

Slides featured trends in Clinton County. featured trends in Clinton County. Screenshot via Zoom via Zoom

Attendees were asked to share their thoughts for Clinton County 2040 via Zoom. were asked to share their thoughts for Clinton County 2040 via Zoom. Screenshot via Zoom
Participants asked what county’s key assets are

By John Hamilton

[email protected]

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574.

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