A year after Clinton set out to find its voice as a community during the 2011 Future Search Conference, the Clinton Community Council is up and running and ready to take on that role.
“The council represents a group of people who are willing to make the effort to establish a community identity for this place called Clinton,” said Doug Kelly, a 30-year resident, who serves on the council.
“In short, they care enough about Clinton to invest some of their time and effort to establish a vehicle, the council, to distinguish Clinton in the South Whidbey community.”
The council grew out of the future search process that began in January 2011. Residents and stakeholders of Clinton discussed how they could grow a sense of community in the sprawled out area that makes up Clinton. As a result of the two-day conference, the community council grew with the goal that the council would become “the voice of Clinton,” said Jack Lynch, one of the council members.
The group has held two meetings so far. It meets the fourth Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Clinton fire hall. The meetings are open to the public.
The council’s goal is to be the community’s voice in matters such as land-use planning and review, public safety and public facility siting on the county and state levels as well as among neighboring communities.
The group soon decided that many voices are needed to represent all facets of Clinton.
The members include representatives of various organizations and four at-large members.
Hal Schlomann represents the Clinton Chamber of Commerce.
Longtime water commissioner Maury Hood will speak for the Clinton Water District.
School board member Jill Engstrom represents the South Whidbey School District.
Arlene Stebbins represents the Friends of the Clinton Library.
Dean Enell is the liaison to Island County Planning Commission. Port President Curt Gordon represents the Port of South Whidbey.
Dave Hoogerwerf is the Clinton Ferry Advisory Committee representative.
Carol Flax, who helped organize the Clinton Thursday Market last season, will be on board for the Clinton Progressive Association.
Kelly, who is an attorney, serves as counsel of the group.
Lynch, Doug Hofius, Peter Van Giesen and Sherryl Christie Bierschenk are the at-large members.
A 13th member, a student from the South Whidbey School District or a private school on South Whidbey, will round out the group, Lynch said. The council is in the process of putting its final member in place.
Lynch explained that the council is in the process of creating structure and is working on housekeeping items such as bylaws and is working to become a non-profit organization.
“We’re getting organized,” Lynch said.
However, the group is also supporting projects such as the Clinton Thursday Market and is pushing forward plans for identifying a trail connecting the ferry dock all the way to Ken’s Korner. In addition, they aim to give input on such issues as where speed-monitoring devices will be installed in Clinton, Lynch said.
Grant money is available for the project and now the community has to decide where the devices will go.
The group is ready to make its voice heard.
“The idea of the council matters now more than ever,” Kelly said. “In our world people come to know the importance of their place in creating and sustaining a future for the benefit, not only of Clinton, but the entire of Whidbey Island and beyond.”