Clermont County Agenda for the Future kick-off event scheduled

The Clermont County Chamber Foundation and the LEAD Clermont Alumni Association are joining forces to conduct a communitywide dialogue to create a new “Agenda for the Future” in Clermont County. This initiative is generously supported by a grant from Duke Energy.

A kickoff event will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the Holiday Inn Eastgate. The public is invited but space is limited so advance registration is required. Register online at, or call George Brown at 513-218-3157. There is no charge for this event.

“The last time a communitywide visioning initiative on this scale was conducted was nearly 25 years ago,” said David Gooch, local president of Park National Bank and chair of “Agenda for the Future.”

Gooch said he and several other members of the 2012 LEAD Clermont class conducted a review of the “Clermont 2001” report that was released in early 1991.

“While the ‘Clermont 2001’ initiative produced a number of very positive outcomes in Clermont County, we concluded that a great deal has changed in our community over the past 25 years and that it is time to undertake a similarly bold initiative,” Gooch said.

Matt Van Sant, president of the Clermont Chamber and the Chamber Foundation agreed. “We’ve been through some troubling economic times in recent years. Things are beginning to turn around and this is an excellent time to look broadly at economic development and quality of life issues – to reset our priorities for future growth and development throughout Clermont County. This is a great fit for the Foundation and the LEAD Clermont Alumni Association,” Van Sant said.

Others involved in the “Agenda for the Future” initiative include Warren Walker, district manager with Duke Energy; George Brown, project manager; and John Melvin, director of the Small Business Development Center at the Chamber and the primary author of the “Clermont 2001” report.

The Chamber Foundation is also engaging Elizabeth Blume and her staff at the Community Building Institute of Xavier University to assist with the initiative.

“We will convene a communitywide process that will serve as a forum to hear from all voices in the county, generate positive, productive discussions about the future, and develop strategies that will guide future growth, target resources, and build on all that is great about Clermont County,” Van Sant said.

A Resource Team has been formed to oversee the initiative and assist with conducting as many as 50 Community Conversation sessions around the county during February and Mach. A countywide workshop will be held in April to review major issues identified through the Community Conversations, and work teams will develop strategies to address these issues. A final “Agenda for the Future” report will be issued in the fall of 2014.

“This is a great opportunity for citizens in all areas of the county to share their ideas and recommendations as we plan for the future. I hope we have standing room only for the kickoff event on Jan. 14,” Gooch said.

Founded in 2011, the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization formed to deliver community capacity building activities in the Clermont area. The Foundation’s key initiatives are leadership development, organizational development, asset development, and community linkages. The Executive Director of the Foundation is Matthew D. Van Sant, and the Chairman of the Board is Warren Walker, District Manager, Community and Local Government Relations, Duke Energy.