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Update on Canton's Recreational Trail System

The citizens of Canton have often voiced their desire to have many recreational options. The City is committed to providing a means for our residents and visitors to walk the community through a trail system that borders the Etowah River and connects parks to the downtown area.

Many years ago, the City began the process of constructing Heritage Park and the YMCA. Boling Park offers residents walking paths and recreation fields. Additional trails at Boling Park were created by local scouts for hiking in the woods along the Etowah River.

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Fun 2020 Events in Holly Springs

Holly Springs offers exciting things to do all year long, so mark your calendars now. Additional details can be found at

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Exciting Happenings in Ball Ground

The future of Ball Ground looks as bright as ever! In 2020, projects will be completed, and new projects will begin.

Phase one of the Roberts Lake Project is anticipated to be completed by midyear. To date, three footbridges have been installed, approximately 1 mile of trail has been cleared, and markers have been placed. City staff is working to secure the old power generating building to make it safe for visitors. Stay tuned for exciting updates.

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Citizen Engagement and Inclusivity Are Canton’s Way Forward

As the City of Canton’s new mayor, I want to thank you for your support and wish you all a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2020. This will be a pivotal year, as we continue our positive momentum with a new City Council, a fresh perspective, and a commitment to improving the quality of life and opportunities for all our citizens. While our progress is undeniable, it will certainly take a lot of work and political will to maintain our unique small town character and charm while enhancing accessibility to the modern conveniences that have a positive impact on the ways we work, live, and play in Canton.

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Update on the Holly Springs Town Center Project

I love when I have been assisting business owners, community activists, or residents over the phone or by email with a problem they are having, and then I finally get to meet them in person. There is just something about putting a face with a name that brings to life whatever project or problem we were working on together.

Over the past several years, the staff at the City of Holly Springs has been keeping citizens abreast of every step taken, as we get closer to breaking ground on the Town Center Project. In 2020, years of behind-the-scenes planning and preparing will finally give way to visible progress on this much anticipated project in downtown Holly Springs. I am happy to finally put faces with some of the names you have been hearing about for so long.

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2019 Highlights and Future Growth Goals

Before I reflect upon my first year serving as chairman, I must mention that it has been great to work with fellow members of the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners. We haven’t always initially agreed, but we’ve been able to compromise enough that, so far, all votes have been unanimous. Buzz Ahrens built that cooperative atmosphere during his 12 years as chairman, and I hope to continue it.

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A Successful 2019 in Ball Ground

Looking back, 2019 has been a great year for Ball Ground. Rick Roberts, who has served as Ball Ground’s mayor for more than 28 years, has seen our community blossom into a thriving downtown. And, according to Mayor Roberts, two of the projects completed this year will have a lasting impact on the city.The Roberts Lake Project, a pristine property once home to a dam on Long Swamp Creek, was Ball Ground’s first source of power in the 1920s. Though it served the people well as a power source, this property will now serve the community as a place of recreation for many years to come. An initial pathway has been cleared, and footbridges are being constructed and put into place, making the area more easily accessible to hikers. The goal is to open the park to the public in July 2020.

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Holly Springs City Council Update

In recent months, a lot has been happening in Holly Springs. Here’s an update on projects and initiatives:A resolution from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to raise the speed limit on Interstate 575 within the Holly Springs city limit from 65 mph to 70 mph was approved during the council’s August business meeting. GDOT changed the speed limit signs in early September.

Construction on the Hickory Road and Palm Street intersection improvements is underway. Georgia Development Partners has started grading for the new roadway between Walnut Street and the new roundabout on Hickory Road just east of Cherokee County Fire Station #8. This project will take approximately 12 months to complete. The project will include an additional western travel lane on Hickory Road, elimination of the stop sign on Hickory Road east of the railroad, and the conversion of the intersection of Palm Street at Hickory Road to a right-in/right-out configuration.

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Upcoming Fall and Holiday Happenings in Ball Ground

Now that fall has arrived, it’s a great time to pack up the family and head to Ball Ground to see what’s happening! The beautiful Ball Ground Botanical Garden and Calvin Farmer Park make the perfect spot for a family picnic or those long overdue family photos.As you travel through downtown, don’t let the seasonal “visitors” give you a fright. It’s Ball Ground’s annual Invasion of the Scarecrows contest! Each year, Karla Weaver and the Ball Ground Main Street Board sponsor this event, along with the Ball Ground Business Association. The contest is open to individuals, businesses, organizations, and clubs with a Ball Ground address. If you are interested in participating, please contact Karla Weaver at 770-735-2123 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The winners will be announced at the Spooktacular event Friday, October 25.

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Holly Springs Construction Update

Town Center Road Network Project Update
The city council approved the contract with Georgia Development Partners on May 20 for the construction of the Town Center Road Network Project. The project includes the construction of a roundabout on Hickory Road east of Cherokee Fire Station #8, the addition of a westbound travel lane from the roundabout to Holly Springs Parkway, the construction of a new roadway from Palm Street to Hickory Road starting at Walnut Street, and the conversion of the end of Palm Street to a right-in/right-out intersection. Construction began in late July with an estimated completion of fall 2020. 

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Ball Ground’s Roberts Lake Park Project

At its June meeting, the Ball Ground City Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of properties from five different landowners and to seek funding for the purchase from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, administered by the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, for the Roberts Lake Park Project.The idea to purchase this beautiful gift from nature began on a hot summer day in July 2008. City Manager Eric Wilmarth and City Council Member John Byrd laid their eyes on something they knew about but had never seen. Each had heard of the beauty of Roberts Lake and how it once supplied power to Ball Ground in the 1920s but had never had the opportunity to visit. After reaching their destination, only accessible by an all-terrain vehicle or on foot, they were in awe. They immediately knew this property would offer something great for Ball Ground.

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Inaugural Etowah Film Festival

As Laine Wood sat in a film festival with friends in her old hometown of Sanford, Florida, a year ago, a seed began to germinate, and an idea was born. Fast forward to May 24, and welcome to the inaugural Etowah Film Festival (EFF) in Canton.Wood found a business partner in Brent Lambert-Zaffino, and the two began contacting filmmakers, actors, producers, directors, and sponsors to promote their product, and submissions began arriving.

Several people reviewed the submissions, spending about 100 hours judging entries. Genres included Documentary, Domestic Violence, Subject Narrative, Feature Narrative, Student Short, Horror Film Short, Georgia High School Film, and Animated Film. Though it’s an international film festival, many of the entries were created locally by native Georgia writers, producers, crews, and actors.

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In Memory of Former Holly Springs Mayor, Johnny Brackett

By Hannah Mitchell

Former Holly Springs Mayor Johnny Brackett passed away April 15, 2019. To honor his years of service to the City, we would like to dedicate this month’s column to his memory. This eulogy was written by Mayor Brackett’s granddaughter, Hannah Mitchell. — Erin Honea, Main Street Director, City of Holly Springs

Johnny was born February 12, 1943 at home in the North Canton Mill Village to Cecil and Ruby Brackett. The doctor gave the wrong date when he filled out the paperwork and put down February 14 instead. He was married July 23, 1961 to Barbara “Bobbie” Williams in a secret ceremony in Dallas, Georgia, and kept it a secret until Thanksgiving of that year.  

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Summer Fun in Ball Ground

Spring has sprung, and the first official day of summer is only a few short weeks away. Time to hit the road to enjoy all life has to offer. Each waking moment is precious time God gives us to spend with family and friends. Take advantage of that time and head to Ball Ground. Though small compared to other cities, what Ball Ground has to offer is an experience you won’t find anywhere else.Downtown Development/Main Street Director Karla Weaver invites you to take advantage of a unique shopping and dining experience. Our calendar of events lists the season’s first Concert in the Park featuring the Local Legends band on June 1. Greg Henderson and his band will provide you with an evening of your favorite rock and country tunes.

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Mark Your Calendar — Upcoming Canton Events

Spring has sprung, and the beautiful weather means outdoor activities. Kicking off the season will be the Canton Festival of the Arts in Brown Park on May 4-5, which is always a fun event with an artist market, children’s activities, live music, food vendors, and this year’s new addition — a Chalk Walk. Preregistration is suggested for the Chalk Walk, but walk-up entries are welcome if space and supplies are available. There is a small fee to register. For more information, visit, or call the Arts Center at 770-704-6244. The festival is a rain or shine event that goes from 10:00am-5:00pm both days.With all the spring cleaning surely to occur, remember that Canton has Dumpster Day the first Saturday of every month, 8:00am-12:00pm, at 151 Elizabeth Street. Dumpster Days are provided for City of Canton residents only. Please bring proof of residency when dropping off items. The following items are NOT accepted: CRT TV or monitor (old style tube televisions or computer monitors), refrigerators, fuel tanks, motor oil, fuel drums, household hazardous waste, antifreeze, wet paint, paint thinners, pesticides, pool chemicals, or commercial waste. If you have any questions, contact Code Compliance Manager Merrick McClure at 770-704-1554, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Away We Grow!

Southern Environmental Services, Inc. demolished the structures on the future Town Center site and removed asphalt, concrete, and utilities in February. The company also removed the house and ancillary structures near the intersection of Palm and Walnut Streets in preparation for the construction of the new roadway from Palm Street to Hickory Road. Southeastern Engineering, Inc. completed the civil drawings for the Town Center road network in February. Construction is expected to begin this summer.In late spring, Baldwin Paving Company, Inc. is scheduled to complete the Holly Springs Parkway Widening Project and all associated infrastructure improvements from Sixes Road north to the intersection with Rabbit Hill Road. Backfilling over Toonigh Creek was completed in February, and construction of the eastern travel lanes is underway. The traffic light mast arms have been installed at the intersection of Holly Springs Parkway and Rabbit Hill Road.

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The Ball Ground Senior Center

Where is the best place for an active senior adult to spend time with friends? The Ball Ground Senior Center (388 Groover Street), of course! This beautiful new facility opened its doors in 2018 and has become “the place to be” for local seniors. If you are age 60 or older, you are invited to drop by all three days the center is open: Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:00am to 2:00pm, and Thursday from 10:00am to 2:00pm.If you attend Senior Center activities Tuesday and Wednesday, you can have lunch with friends for only $1.50. Where else can you get a deal like that? If you prefer coming by on Thursday, you can enjoy “Coffee Talk Day” with other area seniors.

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2019 Signature Community Projects

Four major development projects will highlight the future of Canton this year: the Etowah River Trailways Network, Marietta Road Community Initiative, Archer Street Parking Deck, and the Canton Residential Strategy.1.Etowah River Trailways Network

This project will continue the development of the Trailways through existing parkland while working within neighboring connection points including residential and commercial nodes, utility easements, sidewalks, government structures, and recreational amenities.

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2019 Special Events in Holly Springs

Holly Springs offers fun things to do all year long, so mark your calendars now! Additional details can be found at

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Ball Ground Is the Place to Be in 2019

Ball Ground ended 2018 bigger and better than ever, with downtown Ball Ground continuing to grow, as new businesses discover that it is the place to be. What was once a sleepy town filled with rocks is now a thriving community where people meet for lunch or dinner, shop, attend concerts, or just take a stroll through the park. Ball Ground has it all!Mayor Rick Roberts and Council Members John Byrd, Frank Homiller, Mickey O’Malley, Lee Prettyman, and Andrenia Stoner are second to none when it comes to elected officials. Nowhere will you find a more dedicated group of men and women working to keep pace with the ever-changing times while maintaining the charm of a small town where everyone wants to live, work, and play.

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