In the wake of potentially devastating job loss in Wilmington, an initiative is beginning to take root that may reinvent the future of the town. It’s a welcome change to the barrage of grim news coming out of the southwest, Ohio town. Energize Clinton County began when Mark Rembert and Taylor Stuckert, two recent college graduates who call Wilmington home, decided to create a response to the DHL layoffs by creating a plan to make Wilmington the first “Green Enterprise Zone” . Their proposal addresses different strategies, from greening their own community, to building green business partnerships and promoting green enterprises.
Stuckert says the idea was founded upon Wilmington “not being the poster child of disaster, but the poster child of the future success.”
It’s a daunting task to undertake. The term “Green jobs” has been bandied around for quite some time from the nation’s top politicians, and creating a clear definition and pathway to success can prove challenging. Energize Clinton County is wrestling the terms of green industry, but they have some very important assets.
-Wilmington has drawn national interest due to it’s dire situation, positioning them to get aid.
-the Airpark remains valuable to the area and with the soon-to-be displaced workers, Wilmington has both the infrastructure and work force in place to transition to a green economy.
-Both the state and federal government branches are primed to make green industry a priority. President-Elect Obama made this a platform of his campaign. In Ohio, Governor Strickland passed a stimulus plan and set aside $150 million in advanced and renewable energy.
What remains to be seen is how committed the Wilmington community will become to rally behind this cause.
City Council member Rob Jaehnig is supportive of the movement.
“A lot of people, unfortunately, have written Wilmington off and I hear the terms ghost town and so forth already, yet we can’t just sit at home and ponder our poor situation. We have to pick ourselves up and put our boots back on and get ourselves out there and fight the good fight,” says Jaehnig.
For such a fundamental change to take shape in Wilmington, positive response from the community may be the most important asset they can have.