The Clinton County Port Authority is, as many readers know, the owner and operator of the Wilmington Air Park.
This is a role that gives us great pride, and allows us to work with our tenants, community, and other critical partners to help facilitate opportunities for our community at this amazing community asset.
Over four million dollars has been invested in the Wilmington Air Park in the last year, as the Port Authority has sought and received grants, and spent matching funds to maintain the asset that is an anchor for employment in the region, as well as enhance opportunities for future projects. Navigational Aids. Concrete – yards and yards of concrete. Refreshed signage. Investments that allow for jobs to be sustained and multiply in the community and continue to make the Air Park a premier aviation asset.
The Port Authority is, however, more than that – and the organization’s role and opportunities within our community are about to expand further.
For the past three years, the Port Authority and the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission have collaborated on a county-wide project to identify and assess possible Brownfield Sites.
A $200,000 grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency enabled nine properties, in several jurisdictions, to be evaluated. The assessment is the first step in the potential redevelopment of these properties and enables the owner to understand – at no cost – what, if any, environmental issues a location may have.
As a result of this initiative, several properties are in the process of being redeveloped, creating a foundation for future opportunities.
The Port Authority, working with our local community and economic development partners, has established an informal “Economic Development Roundtable.”
This group, which includes representatives of Main Street Wilmington, the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission, the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce, Clinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the City of Wilmington, regularly meets to review and strategize about methods to enhance our community’s economic development and quality of life opportunities.
Shared, consistent, uniform information and communication – with area businesses, prospects, and among organizations – is just one of the outcomes that is enabling us to “speak with one, consistent, voice” on economic development issues.
Recently, the Clinton County Port Authority – in concert with the Clinton County Board of Commissioners, the City of Wilmington, the Wilmington Community Improvement Corporation, and the Clinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau – announced a collaborative economic development program. This initiative designates the Port Authority as the county’s lead development agency and will provide existing and prospective businesses with a single point of contact for inquiries and assistance.
The Port will be responsible for coordinating collaboration and assistance among all local partners, to provide enhanced service to the business community and maximize growth and investment opportunities, county-wide. Formalizing this new collaboration is an affirmation of a process that has been outlined and tested over several months; it is a strong path forward for the Port Authority and our community.
We look forward to traveling this path with our partners, on behalf of our community.