Our city is breaking new ground as we move into spring! We officially kicked off the construction of our new water pollution control facility, complete with golden shovels supplied by the contractor for the project. Our trail expansion from Heritage to Boling Park also has begun, and should be completed by late next spring. We have listed the Jones Building with a commercial real estate broker, and we have 18 very interesting potential buyers who have signed up for a tour. Design plans for our new downtown parking deck have been completed, and we hope to have it open by early next year. The Atlanta Regional Commission has issued a notice to proceed with roadway design improvements on Highway 140 at the Marietta Road intersection, and our city charter and code compliance council committees continue their hard work to prepare recommendations for both topics.
The City Council has conducted mini-retreat virtual work sessions on housing and public art. After reviewing the best practices of many other cities, our city manager and city attorney will be presenting the council with a draft for a new ethics ordinance to review by June. However, these are only a few of the countless initiatives in the works.
To say that we have an active and engaged council is an understatement, and everyone on Team Canton is working diligently to move our city forward in new and exciting ways. As we begin our recovery from the pandemic, and with our council members fully vaccinated, [at press time] we had plans to hold our first 2021 strategic retreat later in April to review our road map, discuss priorities, prepare for the new budget process and discuss other topics that need to be considered.
Over the past year, we have discovered new ways of engaging our citizens, and public input was a primary component of our Roadmap for Success. While public feedback was incorporated into the road map, nothing replaces the face-to-face opportunities to hear from our citizens and simply spend time catching up with them and their families. This is the thing I look forward to most as things begin to return to a new normal.
Until then, your ongoing engagement is critical as we implement our priorities for the next 15 years. You will find the road map listed on the city’s new website, in the Mayor and Council section, by clicking on Mayor and Council Priorities. Please take some time to review the plan again, and let us know what your top priorities are as we begin to plan our budget for next year and beyond.
After all, YOUR priorities are OUR priorities, and we need to know which items in the road map are most important to you. Email your thoughts to email@example.com. I will compile them, so we can begin our discussions with the things that matter most to our citizens. We also will be planning the best approach for returning to in-person public input, in addition to our new methods of engagement, as we continue to work together to make the Coolest Small Town in America even cooler!
– Bill Grant is the mayor of Canton, and president and chief creative officer of Grant Design Collaborative in downtown Canton.