The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

July 3, 2014

Group's faith in Clinton leads to positive change

As with all good projects, it begins with a vision.

Vision 8 began with a small group of people meeting with Pastor Ron Lott of First Baptist Church and discussing some of the negative attitudes and perceptions of a small, but vocal, part of the community. As the group talked about what could be done to address this negativism, they brainstormed ways to invigorate rundown neighborhoods, rejuvenate neglected areas and properties, coordinate the delivery of both public and private services to address needs, and to communicate ways to make a difference.

They soon realized everything came down to “-ate”: invigorate, rejuvenate, coordinate, communicate. From this was born the volunteer community group Vision 8. Although this group may have begun with people of faith, it soon grew such that the active participation of many in the community proves it is not faith-based in any particular religion, but rather faith-based in the belief that a small group of people can do things to invigorate, rejuvenate, coordinate, communicate, and all with a profound faith that they CAN make a difference.

Fire Chief Mike Brown and his wife, Mary, had visited an outdoor concert venue in Minnesota and were impressed by its appearance. They talked about how something similar could be done back home. Mike recruited his friend Jeff Stoller from Clinton Engineering to help with some conceptual drawings. Then at a Vision 8 meeting just over one year ago, Mike and Jeff presented to the group the idea, the vision if you will, to update the Riverview Park bandshell. The plan at the time was to attempt the remodeling like you see here today, using volunteer labor from Vision 8 and others in the community who shared this vision. As you can also see, it wasn’t long before it became apparent this was a huge project. But Mike Brown and Jeff Stoller stayed at it. Encouraged and prodded by the support from Vision 8, they shared their vision with others in the community, and in time found themselves taking the idea to City Administrator Jessica Kinser. Along the way they had learned of the city having access to a Clinton County Development Association installment of Vision Iowa funding, intended for riverfront improvements, like the Candlelight Restaurant and new marina slips. With Jessica Kinser now on board supporting the remodeled bandshell vision, and after review and changes recommended by City Engineer Jason Craft, the final design specifications and cost estimates were ready.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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