The head of a new group focused on raising the profile of downtown Clinton says the effort is beginning to rub off on nearby communities. Rediscover Clinton President Dylan Riggen, who also serves as Vermillion County Economic Development Council executive director, says Dana leaders have also shown interest and the towns of Newport and Cayuga could benefit from a similar program. Rediscover Clinton is working on a “shop local” campaign, community events calendar as well as ways to showcase area parks and restaurants. Riggen says Rediscover Clinton has applied for inclusion as a Main Street organization with the state. He is set to meet in July with state officials for a progress check on the program and says he expects the group to be officially recognized by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Development by the end of the year.
Riggen says rural communities in the county and throughout the state are battling similar forces that are pulling jobs and talent away from once-vibrant areas. He says improving quality of place is a major factor in reviving the spirit of towns and cities that are struggling.
He says “mom and pop” businesses that used to be part of a “hopping” downtown Clinton year ago are being overshadowed by national companies.
Riggen believes the city's greatest assets include several restaurants and great parks that “haven't been celebrated in the past.” Rediscover Clinton believes the often-overlooked sites, businesses and heritage could be a local and regional draw.