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Celebrating Owen County 20/20 Vision

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Group discusses its successes and impact on the future

By Molly Haines

Five years after the development of Owen County 20/20 Vision, those involved are celebrating the success of progress.

The Owen County 20/20 Vision launched a process in the spring of 2005 to help define the future of Owen County.

As part of the project, volunteers were encouraged to speak to members of groups or organizations to which they belonged or invite neighbors in on discussions that revolved around four questions that included a vision for 20 years down the road and what needed to be accomplished to achieve that vision.

The News-Herald ran a series of one-page ads on Owen 20/20 that included the four questions. The group received a 20-percent response from people in the county.

Fifty middle- and high-school youth leaders also held discussions with their classmates that asked similar questions.

Students received copies of the questions and were asked to take them home to their parents. Local organizations, such as the library, provided opportunities for those using their services to answer the questions.

With all information gathered, Owen 20/20 held a kick-off celebration two-years ago.

To commemorate the hard work, nearly 90 people attended the Celebrate Owen County: 20/20 Vision Successes April 22 as they showcased the accomplishments of the past two years.  

10-exhibits were set up at the Owen County Extension office including an exhibit on the Kentucky River past and present, the Owen County Agricultural Heritage Trails, Owen County schools, tourism in Owen County and downtown beautification.

Owen County Leadership Alumnus David Morgan said leaders throughout the community were present to take part in the celebration.

“We had a very good turnout,” Morgan said. “Our (Owen County) Judge-executive Carolyn Keith, (Owenton) Mayor (David “Milkweed”) Wotier, (State) Representative (Royce) Adams (D-61), members of the Franklin County-Frankfort tourism commission, several primary candidates and one magistrate attended.

There was quite a bit of excitement going on for the future of our county.”

Owen County 4-H Agriculture Agent Kim Strohmeier was also present with an exhibit on entrepreneurism.

“The 20/20 vision surveys from several years back showed a county with prospering small businesses,” Strohmeier said. “Through that ideas were developed that would need entrepreneurs to open up small businesses. We’re looking for people to open up businesses such as a bed and breakfast to have what people wanted here in the county.”

Strohmeier said he hopes that those who saw the exhibit were able to see that there is help in the county for those looking to start their own business.

“I hope it came across that the county is looking for entrepreneurs and that we offer friendly support and help for them for the future of Owen County.”

Morgan said he hoped the celebration made it clear that Owen County has a lot to offer.

“Sometimes I think people are selling this county short,” Morgan said. “There’s so much right before us to attract people here. I hope this celebration helped people see what all we have. There’s a lot that is going on and we have a bright future here if we all get together and work together.

This plan was introduced two years ago and it’s not just sitting on the table. We’re really getting things accomplished.”