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No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

So what are our neighbors doing right?

Over the past year I have personally met with and had email and phone conversations with officials from 11 of our neighboring cities in an effort to find out what they are doing right. The first person I went to was Billy Peppers, Economic Development Director of Woodstock.

There is an article on the Smithsonian website naming the 20 best small towns in America. I went to the websites of the top 5 towns; Great Barrier, ME, Taos, NM, Red Bank, NJ, Mill Valley, CA, & Gig Harbor, WA. During the next week I will personally call each of these towns in my continuing efforts to find out how their government works and what they are doing right.

Earlier this week I met with two young Canton business owners to listen to their concerns and suggestions. I continue to reach out on a personal level to those who are critical of our Mayor and City Council and the decisions we make on behalf of the Taxpayers.

I am currently lobbying to create a full time staff position of Director of Economic Development. A job description and list of responsibilities is currently being developed. This position is absolutely critical to the economic success of a city such as ours.

We face some significant challenges here in Canton, the greatest of which is a mentality of, "because we have always done it that way". I have stepped on some pretty big toes and have upset some very important people in my quest to truly change our way of thinking about growth and development. The occasional  person who takes the time to write positively and to provide constructive ideas makes this thankless job worthwhile.

I am always available to meet with you to discuss all things Canton in more detail. I am always happy to share any and all factual data with anyone who asks for it. You can contact me at home 770-479-7281, cell 770-827-0048 ot email bill.bryan@canton-georgia.com .

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lisa Murad November 30, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Thank you Mr. Bryan for agreeing that there is "no need to reinvent the wheel" and the using the link I provided to the Smithsonian's 20 Best Small Towns in America article in the comment section of Bill's article "Shedding Light on Canton" on Thursday, Nov 29th. That means someone on the City Council is actually paying attention which is encouraging. What is evident is that Cantonites do want to see their town become a real center for commerce, culture and economic prosperity. If towns located off the beaten path like Blue Ridge and Dahlonega can attract patrons, tourists and business, why in the world can't Canton? Cantonites and the City Council should be appalled at the stream of spending dollars running out of town in all directions to competing towns like Woodstock, Historic Alpharetta, Historic Roswell, Crabapple, etc... Those towns clearly have a "can do" attitude, not to mention pride. Symphonies of thought and strategy need to play here. Communication, information, networking between organizations...sharing of ideas. And as I stated previously, Canton needs 2-way streets to get the retail and restaurant business cranked. Right now the 1-way ingress/egress is effectively choking DT Canton retail and eateries. You can't even get to the existing retail on E Main until you do a full spin of the circumference of downtown behind the retail and through judicial row on North Ave. That does not say "Welcome! We are glad you are here and want your business!"
Bill Bryan December 01, 2012 at 12:51 PM
"Canton Main Street Director Ginger Garrard said she and the Main Street board were saddened to hear of Yawn’s Books’ closure, adding they have played an integral part of historic downtown Canton. “Yawn’s Books has contributed a great deal of involvement and love to the community,” Garrard said. “Their presence that provided so much to our downtown will be missed by many, many people.” The public has now been told that the the Main Street Director and the ENTIRE Main Street Board has given up on this business. THE FUNERAL SERVICES ARE ALREADY BEING CONDUCTED BUT THE PATIENT IS NOT DEAD!! "Yawn added that while he and his wife, Stacy, love their landlord and the space on Main Street, the overhead of running the retail operation was proving to be too costly, prompting the need to downsize and re-imagine the business with a renewed focus online and through their publishing company.". Three words: "LANDLORD", "OVERHEAD", "COSTLY". So I went to the landlord and asked about reducing the rent for 2 or 3 months and give the Yawn's time to try to sell to a new person who just might be able to make it work. Then I went to the Yawns and asked them if they would be willing to attempt to sell the retail portion if they had reduced overhead for a few months. Yes Lisa it's a long shot but so what? Giving up is guaranteed defeat. Just the efforts of selling it would create articles in the paper, leading to talk, leading to interest in guess what??? DOWNTOWN!!
Change For Canton December 04, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I see that Farris Yawn is very impressed with your effort...as to his Facebook reply to you: Part 1 Bill (Bryan), I seldom comment publicly on political issues, but In this case I feel that I have no choice. Firstly, I do not appreciate my business being referred to as dead and ready for burial. We are far from dead; we are simply restructuring and eliminating portions of our business. Secondly, I do not appreciate my business being used to try and score political points at the expense of people that have worked tirelessly for years to improve Main Street, and have made great headway. Imagine what we could have done with this council working with us.......
Change For Canton December 04, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Part 2 Yawns will still be downtown and we are proud to be part of this community. With our restructuring and downsizing we expect to be in downtown Canton for many years, and I am sure another business will find a good home in our current location. As a member of the Main Street Program board I have been constantly saddened by the council’s consistent decisions to talk the talk but not walk the walk when it comes to revitalizing downtown. You have often held up Billy Peppers and the Woodstock Program as an example of what should be done, yet you completely miss (or ignore) the fact that they succeed because the Woodstock council FUNDS their programs. They have money and staff (as in more than one person) to attract businesses and plan programs and events to make their downtown into a destination for shoppers. In addition, they appear to have the complete support of the council since we never hear any published criticism or sarcasm. Bill, my one prayer for the council is that you guys will start working with the Main Street Board and Director in making downtown Canton a place that people want to visit and shop. What merchants need from The Council is to work together for an even better Canton. (Farris Yawn)

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