Clermont’s City Manager Darren Gray was a recent guest speaker at the Kiwanis Club of Clermont.
Darren has been Clermont’s City Manager since September 2012 and has served in other capacities such as the Assistant City Manager for six years and the Lake County Manager before coming back to Clermont.
As City Manager, Darren is the Chief Executive Officer of the city and is responsible for carrying out the mission, goals, and policies established by the City Council while overseeing 12 departments and over 350 city employees. Darren described the growth and improvement of Clermont (the largest city in Lake County) and how he and the rest of the Council had to re-evaluate the city’s practices, institute strategic plans and involve the Community while doing so. Under this Multimillion Dollar ten-year master plan, the focus will be on the waterfront area of Clermont.
The current boat ramp is being demolished to make way for the last phase of the Victory Pointe project, he said. Victory Pointe is a regional storm-water facility that collects and treats runoff from rainstorms. He went on to explain that when a storm comes through the area, a series of underground pipes will direct the water to two large ponds at Victory Pointe, one on either side of Minneola Avenue. The removal of the boat ramp will facilitate the general aim of the Masterplan which is to move much of the water athletic and special events activity from Waterfront Park further west so that the participants in those events can more easily make use of Clermont’s Historic Downtown District.
Darren Gray spoke about the many accomplishments of Clermont such as being rated the Most Business Friendly Small City in Central Florida with populations of 25,00 to 100,00 residents and the best place to live in the 2017 Orlando Business Journal. He told of the 30 new businesses in Downtown Clermont such as the Sun Creek Brewery, Michael’s Ali and Savoree and the Clermont Brewing Company opening in 2018. He mentioned McKennely Rae (clothing), Gray Collective Bridal and Boutique to name a few others.
Darren also talked about the Clermont extension of the Coast-to-Coast Connector “Trail Way” that will link communities between St. Petersburg and Titusville and which when finished will provide a multi-use trail allowing residents and visitors to explore Central Florida by bicycle and on foot. This “C2C Connector” is a coordinated regional effort to create a 275-mile multi-use trail by filling in the 72 miles of gaps between existing trails from the Gulf of Mexico in St. Petersburg to the Atlantic Ocean in Titusville. This ‘Super trail’ – the longest continuous bike path in the state – will draw thousands of bike-loving tourists and spark new restaurants, hotels, and bike shops in communities along the route. The half-way point of this trail is the West end of Clermont, and a mid-point trailhead is being constructed near 8th Street in Downtown Clermont to give easy access to the city and its businesses.
At the conclusion of Darren Gray’s presentation, President-Elect Chris Boylan presented Darren with a commemorative Club pin.