If you live in Clinton, we have a special invitation for you. And it is one that could lead to a ripple effect throughout the city for years to come.

From 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, the city of Clinton is inviting residents to attend a public input meeting at the Eagle Point Lodge in Eagle Point Park.

City officials at that time will be seeking input about how residents want their community look as far as 20 years into the future.

It's all part of the city's work to formulate a comprehensive plan, which officials say is an important tool to help leaders decide how, when and where growth should occur.

Clinton Herald readers last week got a sneak peek at what those officials are saying as far as the downtown's future, economic growth and sports facilities are concerned.

What they said at last week's multiple meetings all boils down to bringing in people to help shoulder the burden of climbing taxes and to generate revenue to invest in better sports facilities and bike trails; drawing in businesses that would bolster the downtown area and create a nightlife attractive to young people and, as a result, stimulate economic development and job creation.

  For example, those officials have said a lack of hotels downtown or near downtown along with under-utilized old buildings have hindered the progress of downtown.

When it comes to economic development, city officials say high property tax rates have been an obstacle, causing many businesses and homeowners to look elsewhere.

Improving the condition of residential properties is crucial to creating more development, leaders say, citing examples from both DeWitt and Fulton, Ill., where individuals have stepped up to rehabilitate buildings on their own.

They also say the city code is a major barrier to economic development as well.

So where to start?

That's where this meeting comes in.

The hope is that residents will turn out and, by working alongside city leaders, a plan will emerge to help the city as it creates a vision for the future.

Think you don't have any ideas?

We know they are out there, and it is time to bring those ideas forward.

Thursday's meeting is a place to do it. We hope you will attend.

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