Editor’s Note: The News Journal is presenting daily stories on local entities that play vital roles in economic development during National Economic Development Week (May 6-11). Today’s story is from the Clinton County regional Planning Commission.
Through nearly 50 years of leading planning efforts in Clinton County, the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission is truly living up to its slogan “Communities Working Together.”
With commissioners representing every municipal jurisdiction and most townships, the CCRPC is the most diversely-represented board of Clinton County citizens.
This unique makeup of the RPC has enabled it to be uniquely and strongly connected with the needs of Clinton Countians related to the physical, social, and economic development of the County.
We are able to do this not only through the representation of the commissioners serving on the RPC, but also because of our direct participation in many different boards, organizations, and efforts throughout the County.
The role of the CCRPC is more important now than it has ever been since its founding.
Clinton County has gone through immense changes in the last decade and is currently faced with many questions about where it will go in the future, and there is no singular, clear answer about what is the “best” direction going forward. Coming out of out of our greatest economic challenge in 2008, in which Clinton County was the hardest hit county in the country, we have been moving in a positive director for several years now.
With more positive news coming out of the Wilmington Air Park, confidence in the local economy is higher than it has been since the great recession.
We have observed significant growth with local employers and a return to a more diverse and resilient local economy in part due to the efforts of many agencies. In a county where the unemployment rate saw record highs a decade ago, now has a plethora of jobs needing filled.
Efforts, involving the CCRPC, are already underway to continue the positive momentum for Clinton County’s economic development.
For the CCRPC, our focus will be on providing support for development opportunities that touch a variety of facets of economic development. From 2015-2018, the CCRPC secured over $4.5 million in awarded grants. An example of this was partnering with the City of Wilmington, ODOT and Ahresty for $1.6 million in grant funding to build the first phase of the Airborne Road Connector Project, which provided needed infrastructure for Ahresty to expand operations, and opened up dozens of acres of shovel-ready industrial space along US 68 South.
In the last year, after forming and administering the Clinton County Land Bank, we have invested $600,000 to remove nearly 40 blighted structures in every corner of the county and turning abandoned properties into new infill lots ready for development.
Finally, the CCRPC has been working hard to ensure that residential quality of life is a topic at the forefront of economic development in Clinton County. Already we have completed plans related to: parks, trails, pedestrian safety, becoming more age-friendly, and are actively engaged with education and workforce development needs.
For Clinton County to be successful, it has to serve the needs of those already vested here, while continuing to focus on attracting new investment.