Welcome to my first column for the News Leader. I look forward to sharing city updates with you.
I’m happy to report that we are making significant progress with COVID-19 vaccinations in Lake County. In fact, over 85% of Lake County’s population age 65 and up is vaccinated, as well as over 50% of those age 16 and up. That is something to celebrate!
Of course, we need those numbers to continue to rise to reach herd immunity. The more shots we get in people’s arms, the safer our community will be.
I would also like to commend our fire department. Not only have they been helping with vaccinations at state sites and schools and through their own Point of Dispersing, they also are going out to businesses and vaccinating their employees onsite. Talk about a business friendly approach!
Speaking of business friendly, the city’s economic recovery initiative, Rise Clermont, continues to support our local shops, restaurants and nonprofits. Their latest Umbrella Art Project made for a colorful display at about 30 locations throughout the city. We encourage everyone to register on Rise Clermont’s website, www.RiseClermont.com, and connect with the community.
As COVID cases decline and CDC guidelines ease, we are excited to safely bring back programs and events. These past few months, we had a successful Earth Day Lake Clean-Up and Festival, Great Clermont Campout and two Movies Under the Stars, as well as our first Junior Park Rangers day. The Clermont Performing Arts Center brought back a variety of shows, and several even sold out. Many senior programs have resumed in person, while virtual bingo and chess also are a hit.
I attended our police department’s first department updates presentation; as for a few highlights, crime dropped 14%, officers are now equipped with body cameras and there is a new online citizen reporting platform. I commend them for all the good work they are doing in our community.
I have also been attending new business ribbon cuttings left and right – a great sign of our resilient economy and our positive outlook.
If you have not been downtown lately, not only will you discover several new shops and restaurants. You’ll also notice improvements to our streets. As part of our Downtown-Waterfront Master Plan, Phase 2 of Streetscape construction continues along Minneola Avenue. The brick paving, new landscaping and lighting look great, and we doubled street parking – which is always welcome.
Here in the Choice of Champions, we are especially excited for the Summer Olympics. NBC recently came to Clermont to film promotional videos of our track and field athletes, and the Union Americana de Natacion Tokyo Olympics Swimming Qualifier was just held at the Orlando Health National Training Center. Let’s get ready to tune in and cheer on our Champions.
Until next time.