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Ringing in the New Year in Holly Springs

Elected officials and staff at the City of Holly Springs are taking the opportunity that the new year brings to look back at all the good things the past year has brought, and to look forward to what’s coming in 2018.

2017 saw many projects come to fruition that had been in the works for years. The City of Holly Springs and the Holly Springs Downtown Development Authority (DDA) entered into a development and management agreement with Stonecrest Homes GA, LLC in November for the Holly Springs Town Center Project (TCP). The agreement provides a ninety-day, due-diligence period for Stonecrest that expires on January 31, 2018. During the due-diligence period, Stonecrest will work with Southeastern Engineering, Inc. to complete site engineering, and then a project budget will be presented to the City Council and the DDA for the development of the Town Center.

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March on Over to Ball Ground This Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s time to get the family out of the house to enjoy a beautiful day in Ball Ground. Being out in the cool, crisp air feels so refreshing. There’s just something so relaxing about seeing a beautiful blue sky while being surrounded by colder temperatures. Since the days are shorter and holiday decorations have begun to show up in neighborhoods and retail establishments, it can only mean one thing: Christmas and the New Year are just around the corner.

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City Politics — Productive, Not Glamorous

The City of Canton is divided into three wards, and each ward has two council representatives. The terms for each elected official, including the mayor, are four years. Though you may live in one ward, you will vote for a representative for each of the three wards.

The politics of the City are nonpartisan, meaning that a candidate does not declare a party to run for office. There is no aisle to cross, and in the past four years, none of the decisions that have been made could have been influenced by a political party platform. In council discussions and decisions, each of the council representatives are mindful about spending the tax dollars of Canton’s citizens wisely, in other words, they are fiscally conservative, as they should be.

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Ball Ground Rolls Out the Red Carpet, Not the Red Tape

If you haven’t ever been to Ball Ground, or if it’s been a while, then you are in for a real treat! Ball Ground is small-town living at its finest! Presently, Ball Ground boasts a population of approximately 1,750, and it continues to grow. People are wowed when they visit downtown Ball Ground! As a place that is full of rocks and marble, Ball Ground is emerging as a diamond in the rough. The city is experiencing tremendous economic growth. Historic buildings that had long been empty have been given new life. They are being transformed into restaurants, boutiques, art shops, an ice cream shop and many other types of businesses that people love to visit.

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A Novel Idea

For those who love to read, those who love to write and those who love to read and write.

A Novel Idea was born a year ago when I trekked to Lawrenceville with my pals Jay Minor and Marsha and Bill Cornelius to attend an event called, “Noir at the Bar.” The theme of the evening was noir, and there were six authors who read from their work. Door prizes, such as copies of the authors’ books, were given out between readings.

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A Look Back at Canton's Awesome 2017 Festival of the Arts

Of all the things to do in Canton GA, the Canton Festival of the Arts ranks in the top five. The Cherokee County Arts Council stages one of the best fine arts and fine crafts festivals in the southeast during the third weekend of May in Brown Park, located in downtown Canton. It’s their major fundraiser for the year, and it usually draws 5000 – 7000 people throughout the weekend.

But arts and crafts aren’t the whole story behind this production. Canton Festival of the Arts has festival food vendors (it’s not a festival without funnel cakes, hotdogs and BBQ, right?), organized by Will Carlan. Live music — all day, both days, perfectly orchestrated by Sean Furilla. An activity and crafts area for children was organized by Marcelle Strong, along with a youth artist market of rising artists.

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Coffee with a Cop

TTwo years ago, Coffee with a Cop was started by Canton PD Chief Mark Mitchell. It’s a multi-agency effort that includes the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, Cherokee Marshals Office, Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad, Woodstock, Holly Springs and Ball Ground Police Departments, Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office, the Cherokee County Solicitor’s Office and the Georgia State Patrol.

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Permits and Approvals: They're a Serious Matter

Many people have heard horror stories of the government being difficult to work with because they take forever to get things done. Many a contractor, builder and business owner can tell of their frustrations with getting permits for their business or project.

While some of these horrific accounts may be true, most are exaggerated. The incredible people at the City of Canton set high expectations of themselves and the services they provide. But let’s face it, there is no getting around acquiring the proper permits necessary for certain types of work to be done. Permits are a necessity — rightfully so.

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In today’s technology-driven world, where do we turn to quickly access information about a certain product, service or place? The internet.

Today’s world-wide web is the storehouse for information on almost any given subject matter. It is no secret that the present-day marketplace values accessibility to data and information as a top value for doing business. Everything is a Google, Yahoo or Bing search away.

The same holds true for economic development. Citizens, visitors, businesses and non-profits increasingly depend on the web to gather and share information about a community or a program.

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Understanding Canton’s Local Incentives

Opening or expanding a business can be expensive, and incentives offer financial assistance that can help cut costs or gap finance a project. Different communities take different approaches to incentives. The City of Canton offers an extensive list of incentives that are available based on geographic area or type of investment. Here is a summary of our existing incentives:Certificate of Occupancy Waiver — The economic development manager may waive fifty percent of Certificate of Occupancy fees and may go to the mayor and council to request up to 100%, depending upon the project’s economic impact.

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Ensuring Business Wins

Canton is a business-friendly city. This is no cliché. It is the truth. What exactly does being a business-friendly city mean in the first place? It means that all aspects of governance, codes and permitting are oriented in a manner that assists private businesses to open and conduct their operations.

When the decision is made to locate in Canton, from start to finish, we stand ready to help. The City of Canton provides everything from site selection assistance to permits, to inspections, to zoning information, to development code information, to incentive information and everything else in between.

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Taking #CantonForward

In 2016, downtown Canton welcomed a number of new and exciting projects and developments that are bound to boost its vibrancy. These new projects included the sale of the Historic Board of Education properties to the Harris Group for mixed-use development, incoming restaurants at 151 West Main Street and 170 North Street as well as our very first downtown brewery.

These announcements come in addition to the ongoing festivals and regularly-programmed events, such as First Friday and the Farmers Market, which already exist downtown. Other happenings, like Zombie Fest and BBQ & Brews, also contribute to the growth, vibrancy and visibility of our city.

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Send the Leads

Oftentimes, someone will recommend that the economic development office should contact a particular restaurant or retailer to put Canton on their radar, “Canton could use a ____ store,” or “It would be nice if we had a ____ in town.” The blanks can be filled with a variety of establishments.

These suggestions are appreciated. More often than not, they create interesting conversations with concerned citizens who want to see Canton grow and prosper. It also provides insight to community preference and desirability for support of such businesses. These are typically good indicators for targeted business recruitment efforts.

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Strength in Tourism

The Canton economy is in growth mode. The positive results of economic expansion can be seen in new homes being built, new commercial buildings rising and new businesses coming to town. These are good indicators of local desirability and a healthy business climate.

This past June and July, the number of building permits issued hit triple digits! Local businesses are hiring. Local wages are on the rise. Local industries such as Northside Hospital-Cherokee, Piolax Corporation and Universal Alloy are expanding.

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Let the Data Do the Talking

 How does an inquiring business find out what properties are available in the area? When a company researches the community, likes what they see and wants to scout vacant buildings and sites, where do they look?

Maybe you or someone you know is really interested in opening a local business and wants to learn more about available spaces, and explore the demographics of the area. Where can this information be found?

The answer:

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#CantonForward: Engaging the Present, Planning for Our Future

The citizens of Canton understood the importance of community participation when it came to coming up with the Downtown Master Plan. They willingly responded, and the Plan is now complete. 

Hopefully, #CantonForward is a familiar name, phrase and tagline to you. It is the formal title given to the Downtown Master Plan and Market Analysis. #CantonForward is Canton’s plan to revitalize, redevelop and rejuvenate downtown and the River Mill District. Revitalization is done by attracting jobs, leveraging history, encouraging appropriate development and creating strategies to better serve the transportation needs of citizens, businesses and visitors.

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You’ve probably seen them before. They’ve become more frequent visitors to the area. They travel in a fleet of vehicles; they occupy buildings and pause traffic.

They carry heavy duty equipment. More often than not, they wear street clothes, and they’re notorious for bringing a celebrity or two with them in each of their visits.

Can you guess who? It’s film crews!

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It Pays to Be Safe

This past March, Canton ranked fifth out of fifty on a list of the safest cities in Georgia by This most recent listing means Canton has ranked in the top ten safest cities in Georgia for three consecutive years. Such an acclaim assures us of the great work the City and our law enforcement is doing to ensure our safety.

However, beyond the ranking, knowing that a city and its neighborhoods, communities and properties are safe is also a solid indicator of economic confidence, which encourages new investment. The economic impact of crime on neighborhoods and businesses potentially creates a negative effect on communities that can take many years to overcome.

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What's in a Brand?

Oftentimes, whenever we think of a company or organization’s brand, we recall its logo. However, the two are not one in the same. The logo is a central element to a brand, but a logo is not a brand in its entirety.

When we think of popular brands, most often companies like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s or Wal-Mart come to mind, and rightfully so. These are some of the most popular companies with the most  recognizable brands in the world.

However, beyond the logo is the customer’s actual experience. Experience is the brand; the logo is the face of that brand.

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4 Steps to Opening Your Business in Canton

We are getting better and better at encouraging people to bring their businesses to Canton.

We tout the great things happening here, from major developments like Northside Hospital-Cherokee’s replacement facility to the synergistic growth of downtown.

You see our progress, and you want your business to be a part of it, so you choose to bring your business here.

You then ask, “How, exactly, do I open my business in Canton?”

The good news is there’s no secret formula. We have resources and people ready to help you every step of the way.

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