Clinton County’s official vision for the future identifies 6 key themes in the input of residents

By Gary Huffenberger - [email protected]

WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Board of Commissioners recently adopted “Clinton County 2040” as the official comprehensive plan of Clinton County.

As such, “Clinton County 2040” looks toward the county’s future and is designed to be a long-term guide — a document that gives a broad vision that the county has set for itself over the next 15 or 20 years.

It contains six key themes that come from community input, said Clinton County Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Taylor Stuckert.

These key themes emerged through the planning process in which more than 1,200 comments were received.

The themes are over-arching ones, and are the key themes because they came up the most throughout the process, Stuckert said.

For starters, protecting the county’s rural character and quality of place was heard repeatedly.

People feel very strongly about Clinton County still retaining a strong agricultural and natural landscape, he said.

Subsequently, a key takeaway is to be intentional about where the county encourages growth to go, “rather than allowing for the landscape to be continually subdivided over time,” said Stuckert.

A second theme is support for enhancing the county’s natural and recreational resources. A takeaway from that is to build “connectivity” between these amenities which include the state parks, trails, lakes, streams, and open spaces.

Also frequently raised in the community input is a need to improve housing stock.

“Clinton County lacks the quality and variety of housing of some other communities in the region,” states the document. “This includes a dearth of mid-priced, mid-scale housing, such as small-lot single family houses, townhouses, duplexes and quads.

“More housing to support workers, as well as young professionals and empty nesters, is needed,” the document continues.

Another theme is summarized as “Embracing economic opportunity of the region”. After noting the county’s post-DHL economic resilience and a “strong recovery in the past five years,” the plan document looks longer-term.

“However, to strengthen the county’s long-term economic position, the county must become a more attractive place in which to live, work and invest,” it states.

A fifth theme is recapped under the heading “Realizing employment potential”. A companion News Journal report focuses on the county’s commuter economy, a situation that means “a lot of purchasing power is leaving,” the plan states.

“We need to be continuing to look broader to opportunities on issues such as housing, education, amenities — the things that draw people to live in a place,” said Stuckert when he met with county commissioners to present “Clinton County 2040”.

Finally, the sixth theme comes under the umbrella “Expanding amenities and services”.

“Childcare [affordable] was something brought up repeatedly as a service that is much needed in this community,” Stuckert told commissioners.

Many also identified quality education as critically important.

To dive into the entire comprehensive plan document, go to and click on the “Read the final draft plan” tab. In addition to the text and stats, it includes a lot of local photographs and visual elements.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

By Gary Huffenberger

[email protected]