In a recent “State of the City” address, City Manager Darren Gray delivered an address filled with accomplishments and significant plans for Clermont’s future.
“It was another amazing year in Clermont, the Choice of Champions,” Darren says. “In the last year alone, we’ve brought Clermont to new heights, and together, we continue to move Clermont forward.”
A host of business owners, residents, Realtors, representatives of nonprofit organizations, and local and state politicians packed the room to hear the city manager’s address. They were joined by other principal stakeholders keeping an eye on the city’s future. Mayor Gail Ash provided opening remarks.
The multimedia presentation highlighted Clermont’s accomplishments in 2018 and gave a preview of what’s to come for the Choice of Champions. this included news about master plan projects for 2019, exciting enhancements to the Waterfront district, and new businesses preparing to come to Clermont.
Darren has been city manager since 2012, and has provided solid leadership for the city growth and international link with sports and athletes. It has been five years since Clermont was rebranded Choice of Champions and adopted its award-winning master plan.
In 2018, the city had an amazing number “firsts,” including two signature events: Sips & Salsa Festival and Cycle & Seek, a bicycle scavenger hunt.
Last year marked the completion of the first major project of the Master Plan–Victory Point. A state-of-the-art stormwater filtration system that encouraged development and redevelopment downtown. In 2018, 139 businesses opened in Clermont, including 44 new businesses downtown.
Fondo Cycling Circuit USA came to Clermont for the first time, making it one of only six American cities to host the long-distance ride. It also provided the perfect event for launching Victory Pointe, the city’s new stormwater facility and event venue.
Clermont now has its first-ever Youth Council. This group of young people tagged along with directors for a day and are currently working on a project to better the community. They’ll present it to the city council next month.
Four Clermont elementary schools received resource officer who specialize in crisis intervention training and train staff members at each other schools in active threat response.
Further additions in Clermont include a new and improved public boat ramp along Lake Minneola, doubling the launch ramps, providing increased parking andmorring slips and new restrooms.
With the Kehlor Building more than 60 years old, the city is building a new senior meeting center, which should have a ribbon-cutting announcement soon.
Clermont won state, national, and international awards and honors in 2018.
- Statewide awards included:
- Recognition from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for the city’s exceptional Drinking Water.
- Three awards from the Florida Festivals and Events Association for the city’s outstanding event promotional materials.
- The Healthy Community Champion award from Florida Health Department. Clermont was the only city in Lake County to receive this honor.
- Trail Town Designation from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, making Clermont one of just five municipalities recognized in the state
- The Florida Crime Prevention Unit of the Year Award from the Florida Crime Prevention Association for Clermont Police Department’s work reducing crime in the Oakhurst neighborhood.
- The City Spirit Award from the Florida League of Cities for the Oakhurst project.
- National recognition included:
- The National Hometown Heroes Leif Erikson Award from Neighborhood Rescue of America, which went to Police Officer David Colon for spearheading the Oakhurst project.
- Recognition for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada — for the 30rd consecutive year.
- An Excellence in Procurement Award from the National Procurement Institute
- Clermont’s second Bicycle Friendly Designation from League of American Bicyclists.
- International honors included:
- The Clermont Fire Department became internationally accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, making Clermont one of only 258 in the world. Only 10 percent of the U.S. population is protected by an accredited agency.
- Clermont’s Champions Pointe Disc Golf Course in Lake Hiawatha Preserve was selected as a location for the 2020 Amateur Disc Golf World Championships by the Professional Disc Golf Association.