It’s a new year! We fully expect that, like us, you’ve all made your New Year Resolutions. For many, the promises we make – eat healthier, get more exercise, finish a college course – are promises we make to ourselves. But, think of the resolutions the City and local business leaders make for the New Year. The goals they set not only have to impact the business, services, and duties they’re hired, elected, or appointed to do, but directly affect thousands – you, your family, friends, and neighbors.
So, what have the city leaders resolved to address in 2017?
In a comprehensive planning meeting at the end of 2016, local business leaders, City Administrators, Clarke Community Schools, and County Supervisors joined the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) for a full day of research and planning for the upcoming year. Priorities from each group were covered, from sewer and wastewater management upgrades and planning for future amenities to student achievement strategies and healthier lifestyle opportunities for everyone, although the day included conversations across a wide spectrum, ultimately the conversations kept returning to the community’s need for healthy and safe access to water. This issue came up both in the business analysis as well as the presentations centered on residents and the community members.
While discussions around water treatment and working with the supplies from West Lake continue, research shows if Osceola and Clarke County hope to expand or build infrastructure to help the community grow, a safer, more secure water resource must be established. With the continued efforts made by the Clarke County Reservoir Commission (CCRC), the picture of business and community development – not to mention quality improvement for existing water customers – looks much brighter today than it has in a very long time.
We have well over 60% of the land needed and land management initiatives are under way,” stated Dave Beck, Project Coordinator for the CCRC, “We just need to keep the ball rolling.”
Understanding that making water more accessible, safer, and secure is of highest priority to the community leaders, there were numerous other topics discussed throughout the day’s planning session.
Ty Wheeler, Osceola City Administrator, discussed the need to continue the maintenance updates for the wastewater plant as well as corridor planning in hopes to bring the historic beauty of the square back to Osceola. He closed with an emphasis on providing cleaner water and access to the resources needed to allow the county and Osceola to grow.
Jean Bahls, curriculum Director at Clarke Community Schools, discussed the direction the district is going for the future of their students. Career Academy programs and local business outreach were a big focus of her presentation.
Brian Evans, CEO of Clarke County Hospital, presented the latest information on the Hospital’s expansions including the new Emergency Department. Through the Hospital’s Vision 2020 Strategic Plan, Evans reinforced their commitment to community engagement and encouragement for a strong local workforce. As the renovations continue the community can expect even more services and patient care initiatives with specialists and special equipment, like the upcoming 3-D Mammography machine the hospital will be debuting early in 2017.
With the input from members and local leadership, at the end of the day, the CCDC took away a comprehensive list of items to address in the New Year. When asked about the results and the day of planning, CCDC Executive Director Bill Trickey said,
“The process is as important as the finished product when it comes to planning.”
The top priorities set for the group were as follows:
- Cleaner, Safer, More Accessible Water Supply
- Improved Community Pride
- Better / More Housing Solutions
- Higher Focus on Mental Health Services for the Community
- Updated / improved Sewer and Waste Water Treatment
- Improved Workforce for the Local Businesses
- Quality of Life improvements (better sidewalks, trails, parks, etc.)
- Higher Standards for Literacy and Achievement for the Community
- Development of a robust Career Academy for local Students
- Community Health and Wellness
At the end of the session, the group created action items to address the priority list. These action items included gaining more community support through open discussions, research and transparency, and finding funding avenues for projects needing monetary support.
For more information on CCDC’s 2017 Strategic Plan, you can contact Bill Trickey, Executive Director at Clarke County Development Corporation, phone 641-342-2944, or email [email protected].