Leadership alumni look to future

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By Molly Haines

The Owen County Leadership Alumni met March 3 to discuss an agenda that consisted of cleaning up the downtown area and building a Web site that will inform those looking to come to Owen County on how to begin a successful small business.

The Leadership Alumni consists of a group of about 70 people who have graduated from the four leadership classes. Leadership is an eight-month program that covers everything from agriculture to entrepreneurship.

At the end of the eight months, the group that completed the classes takes on a different project. The first group to complete all classes aided in starting the Farmers’ Market, which is held during the summer and fall months.

The Leadership Alumni is split up into different committees, which include downtown beautification and the tobacco heritage trail, along with others.

Kim Strohmeier, who is in charge of small business development day, said the program will inform interested citizens on how to build their own business.

“Small Business Development Day will help those who may be interested in starting their own business about the pros and cons of being a small-business owner.”

Owen County Public Library Director, Jennifer Nippert, who is in charge of the downtown beautification committee, said sprucing up the downtown area has already begun.

“We broke the project down into seasons,” Nippert said. “The first step was the snowmen that were placed in various places around the downtown area.”

The committee received a grant from Kentucky American Water along with donations from Owen Electric that the committee will use to help further the project.

“For spring we’re going to be hanging planters with flowers around the downtown area,” Nippert said.

The Tobacco Heritage Trail committee is working on plans for murals, which would be painted on barns across Owen County depicting tobacco season.

The committee has received a grant to conduct interviews with older farmers in Owen County who would tell of their experiences working in tobacco. The interviews would be recorded on CDs or cassettes, which would serve as a tour guide for the barn murals.

A grant was also received to put together a regional Web site that would consist of business directories and other items of interest.