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Clarke County Development Corporation targets new programs

For more than a decade, the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) has been working with leadership from local businesses, local and regional government, school boards, the community and more to help build a better quality of life for Clarke County and its citizens. Each year, CCDC board members gather, along with leadership from throughout the county, to discuss the challenges facing business development, community growth, health and community pride for Clarke County. This year, the 2018 CCDC planning session took place at Lakeside Casino in a full-day, collaborative session with nearly 30 members of Clarke County, from business leaders to health service providers and educators to city and county political figures, the session heard input from virtually every facet of the community.

“CCDC has been providing leadership for 48 years,” said Development Corporation Executive Director Bill Trickey. “The purpose of these planning sessions is to ask the question, ‘What can the CCDC do that benefits Clarke County the most?’”

The sessions opened with status reports from Brian Evans, CEO of Clarke County Hospital, Jean Bahls from Clarke Community Schools, County Supervisor Marvin McCann and Ty Wheeler, Osceola city administrator. From their presentations, it was obvious many of the plans made for 2017 were in full swing or already accomplished. Some of the items covered for 2017 were the continued growth of the medical staff at the hospital and clinics, establishment of the Trade Advisory boards for local students, road safety and reconstruction of bridges throughout the county, the development of the county trail system and safe routes to school as well as progress on water quality and sanitation.

“Overall, the success we’ve seen in 2017 is due to the commitment made by everyone in the room,” Wheeler said. “With this kind of collaboration, we can really focus efforts on issues that impact the entire community.”

During the planning session, guided by Mandy Houk from Marketing Kinetics, evaluations across eight specific verticals were made. Through group discussions, teams were asked to envision an ideal scenario for each, meaning if there was no issue, what would that look like? Then, teams were asked to brainstorm ideas for actions and activities CCDC could do to bring those ideal scenarios to fruition. 

Within each vertical, dozens of ideas were discussed from immediate actions to long-term planning. Below is a list of the verticals discussed with a sample of a suggested solution for the group:

• Access and quality of healthcare – develop first-responder’s programs and education opportunities throughout the county

• County infrastructure – develop a study centered around county road conditions and use for maintenance prioritization

• City infrastructure – develop plans centered around building improvements and incentives for community accountability

• Workforce development – develop more programs around education and awareness for opportunities throughout the county

• Quality of life – develop activities centered around utilization of parks and recreation opportunities to build healthy options for citizens, community pride and availability awareness 

• Community appearance – develop plans centered around residential improvements and incentives for community engagement

• Mental health and drug abuse – along with helping the hospital recruit and train mental health workers, develop an ongoing outreach and education program for children and parents centered around recognition of key mental health and drug abuse issues

• Access to abundant and safe water – develop ongoing strategy for education centered around the need for access to abundant, clean, healthy water

While within each vertical, the teams came up with dozens of action items, most centered on increasing education and garnering stronger community support. 

“With a community as diverse as ours, understanding is imperative,” Bahls said. “Once everyone understands we’re facing the same issues, solutions that help are much easier to find.”

The sessions held by CCDC each year are intended to bring leadership and influencers from around the county together to address and focus on the things that matter most. Whether that’s business development, education or mental health, the participants can discuss solutions outside their professional specialties for greater impact across the county. As the planning session is reviewed and action items are developed, look for updates from CCDC. 

For more information on CCDC’s 2018 strategic planning session, contact Trickey at 641-342-2944 or email info@clarkecountyiowa.com.

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