After celebrating 2019, Hamilton officials optimistic about what’s coming this year

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Kathy Klink was named Hamilton Citizen of the Year for 2019.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

After expressing excitment for what happened in the Hamilton area in 2019, officials celebrating those efforts are saying they’re optimistic that 2020 can be better.

That was the message during the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce’s 110th Annual Meeting & Dinner on Friday..

Kathleen Klink, who recently retired as a 10-year member of Hamilton City Council, was praised as Hamilton’s citizen of the year, particularly for her decade of work building neighborhoods in what has become the 17Strong effort, named for the fact Hamilton has 17 neighborhoods.

Supporters noted she put a premium on listening to people, deeply exploring issues she was involved with and even walking door-to-door, persuading residents to become more active in their neighborhoods. That effort continued during Friday’s dinner when Klink took the stage.

“We have 17 distinct neighborhoods — urban, suburban and traditional,” she said. “Those neighborhoods are valued by all of us. But we’re wanting to work hard with the residents to have them become the safest, the cleanest and the most engaged.”

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“And we want to do that by empowering the residents,” said Klink, who remains active with the organization, and is now able to be a voting member of its board. “It’s all about what the residents want. The magic comes from listening to the residents, working hand-by-hand, side-by-side, listening to what is on their mind, and providing resources for them to create that safe, clean and engaged neighborhood.”

She invited everyone to join 17Strong, and others who live outside the city “if you have some ideas or suggestions, things you’re doing in your community, let us know.”

“A community is only as strong as its neighborhoods,” she said.

“Her leadership has got us to the point where we are so proud of our neighborhoods, and they’re going to get even better,” Mayor Pat Moeller said in a video shown during the dinner about Klink.

The chamber’s first-ever annual meeting and dinner happened when Cincinnatian William Howard Taft was the U.S. president, and the chamber’s president and CEO, Dan Bates, said the organization will celebrate that 110th year with an open house of its newly remodeled offices. There are also preparations happening for businesses as the city approaches the anticipated late-2021 opening of Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill, which will be North America’s largest indoor sports complex and the region’s second largest convention center.

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The chamber and Miami University’s regional campuses this spring will offer training to all front-line staff in every city business on how to provide “high-level, consistent customer service,” in preparation for Spooky Nook’s opening. The goal will be to “make every customer-service experience in Hamilton a positive one.”

Bates said the chamber started this year with a stretch goal of adding 100 members.

“So far this year, we have already gained 40 new members, he added.