PRESS RELEASE

Mayor Bill Grant Presented the 2024 State of the City Address; Hosted Local Leaders for “Conversations on Canton”

“A true small town is not defined by population but by the hearts and mindsets of those who call it home.”—Mayor Bill Grant

CANTON, GA (Feb. 1, 2024) – What a remarkable event for the Mayor’s State of the City Address in the beautiful Historic Canton Theatre! City and County leaders, community members, City staff, and friends, were brought together to hear about how Canton is moving into 2024 with optimism, determination, and heart.

“Tonight, as we gather in this beautiful theatre that personifies so much about Canton’s past, present, and future, I am proud to say the state of our City is strong, and its potential grows stronger every day,” said Mayor Grant.

2023 Year in Review

First referencing the City’s 2023 Year in Review for more details, the Mayor then highlighted the myriad of accomplishments from the past year:

  • Completed the Citywide Transportation Master Plan and prioritized projects for implementation
  • Cultural Arts Commission completed the Public Art Master Plan
  • Downtown Parking Deck solar canopy began to power EV charging stations and offset energy needs for City Hall
  • Construction continued on the Water Pollution Control Plant, and the new 3,000 sqft. administration building was finished and opened
  • Over 175 new business licenses were issued in the City last year
  • Launched Explore Canton, the City’s tourism initiative
  • Hotel Motel tax collections topped $1 million annually for the first time last year
  • Renovation and reopening of the historic Jones Mercantile Building by Penn Hodge Properties
  • Received $4.4 M in Grant Awards for the South Canton Park and Marietta Road Pedestrian Improvement Projects
  • Retained Horwath HTL to market sites for both a potential high quality boutique hotel in Downtown and a luxury resort and small conference center on Lake Canton on the property the city purchased at The Bluffs
  • Hosted the Georgia Downtown Conference in the fall
  • Opened a brand new inclusive playground at Heritage Park
  • Completed a $4.3 million renovation and expansion of one of our City’s older parks, Harmon Park, and added a Mini Pitch Soccer Field with the assistance of the first state grant from the Atlanta United Foundation
  • Welcomed and became home to Georgia Impact – Women’s Professional Soccer League team
  • Initiated a comprehensive update to the City Charter and Municipal Code, which was adopted by City Council in late 2023

“As we move forward in 2024 and beyond, it is my hope the City of Canton will focus on two key concepts: Experience and Innovation,” said Mayor Grant. “We will focus on building out our programs and opportunities fully, and take whatever time is necessary to do things right by applying the most innovative practices and technology to achieve the highest quality results possible.”

New Projects & Initiatives

The exciting new projects and initiatives for 2024 include:

  • Complete the Parks and Recreation Master Plan to further connect citizens to our parks and trails
  • Conduct a ribbon cutting and grand opening for the newly expanded and renovated Harmon Park
  • Install a mural across from Harmon Park in the Sunnyside Community
  • Complete the design plans for the new South Canton Park, and issue a RFP for construction
  • Complete the design and issue of an RFP for construction for the new Etowah River Pedestrian Bridge
  • Begin phases 2-5 of the expansion of the Water Pollution Control Plant
  • Issue a RFP for the new traffic signal at Reinhardt Parkway and Reservoir Drive
  • Begin and complete a Master Plan for the Hickory Flat/Marietta Road Gateway into Downtown Canton
  • Continue sustainability projects in City Hall and Public Safety Building
  • Complete and adopt a new Downtown Master Plan
  • Issue a RFP for construction of the West Main pedestrian improvements to connect The Mill on Etowah and Downtown Canton
  • Welcome a new Police Chief in spring 2024
  • Implement the new K9 program for Canton PD
  • Continue all of our spring, summer, and fall events in and around the City

Conversations on Canton

After the Mayor provided his formal State of the City, highlighting completed projects from 2023, and announcing what’s to come in 2024, the evening turned conversational. Selected local leaders were invited to the stage by the event’s emcee, WLJA Radio‘s Randy Gravley, to provide their perspectives and insight on Canton from 2023 and into 2024.

Lifelong resident Carmen Tanner Slaughter; Developer of The Mill on Etowah and Jones Building Penn Hodge; Canton Housing Authority Chair Darrell Rice; Menagerie on Main Owner Jamie Foreman; and President of the Cherokee Office of Economic Development Misti Martin took part in the conversations. Each spoke about and were asked questions on Canton’s diverse community, revitalization and historic preservation, challenges in the housing market, creative arts, and economic development, respectively.

The Mayor closed out the evening by stating, “Canton, our state is strong because our citizens are strong, and even greater strength will be found in kindness, optimism, and the shared, smalltown value of treating others the way we want to be treated.

“That’s what we will do in Canton as we continue to be good stewards of this beautiful place and as we co-create a vibrant and exciting future for generations to follow.”

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