On November 21, I introduced you to Mark Rembert and Taylor Stuckert of ENERGIZE Clinton County -- two ambitious recent college graduates with a bold plan to revitalize their hometown's bleak economy by turning it into a Green Enterprise Zone. Today, I'd like to update you on the most recent developments of this inspirational project.
Before I get to that, though, I'll throw this out there right up front: You can now donate to ENERGIZE Clinton County to help fund their green revitalization campaign. Please follow the link and give whatever you can spare -- $5, $50, $500, or anything in between. Help make this a happy holiday season for Clinton County and Wilmington, Ohio residents by showing your support.
More new developments and ways you can help, and a recap of the history of this project, over the flip.
As you may recall from my last diary, ENERGIZE Clinton County began when local employer DHL Express announced it was closing its Wilmington, Ohio plant at the end of January 2009, laying off nearly the entire town in the process. Mark and Taylor, who grew up in Wilmington and were on furlough there before a planned Peace Corps stint this coming February, were horrified at the looming economic devastation their community faced. They decided to help their hometown help itself by organizing a movement to turn Clinton County into the state's first Green Enterprise Zone -- a region where green technology could be developed and built, subsidized by state and federal government, thusstimulating the local economy and helping to solve America's energy crisis at the same time. They built a basic website, began sounding out local politicians and community leaders, and started to get the word out.
That's where we left matters back on November 21. Since then, a number of highly encouraging things have happened for ENERGIZE Clinton County.
- On Tuesday, December 2, Mark and Taylor held a community forum to discuss their proposal. A hundred local residents turned out, an impressive number for a town of only 12,000.
- Local newspapers and TV stations have done several stories on the initiative.
- Mark and Taylor have begun to flesh out their idea with specific policy proposals, beginning with a three-phase Roadmap to Development.
- A local high school teacher produced this delightfully amateurish promotional video for the campaign.
- In light of the outpouring of community and media support for their enterprise, Mark and Taylor decided to defer their Peace Corps appointments and will now be working full time on ENERGIZE Clinton County for as long as it takes to revitalize their community.
Taylor and Mark have achieved remarkable things without a budget, but now it's time for them to kick up their lobbying efforts a notch -- to turn the Green Enterprise Zone from a wild idea into a reality. To do that, they need money, and lots of it. They've set themselves up as a 501(c)3 through the Clinton County Foundation, so the money won't just be going into their pockets, but will be directed toward lobbying and policy efforts (the two men continue to volunteer their time for the project). "This initial fund raising campaign will help us build our capacity as an organization to work with public officials and the community towards building a sustainable community in Clinton County," they write.
ENERGIZE Clinton County has also opened an office. "Our goal is to use this space as a gathering point for community members interested in being a part of our work to build a Green community in Clinton County," write Mark and Taylor. If you can't donate cash to the group, the group also needs reused office supplies. Here's a list:
•Office Supplies (pens, pencils, paper, cork boards, filing folders, etc.)
•Chairs (office, straight back, and comfy)
•Anything else you think might be useful
If you don't live in the area, and you'd care to ship any of these items to the group, you can use the following address:
Energize Clinton County
120 W. Main St.
Wilmington, OH 45177
Finally, as before, the most important thing for the future of this project is to continue to get the word out. Make sure to sign up for ENERGIZE Clinton County's e-mail list, and let Mark and Taylor know if you have any suggestions for their project or would like to volunteer your time in person. They need all the help they can get!
If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading, and please help to build an economic future for Clinton County residents by helping ENERGIZE Clinton County in any way you can.