Like many other Canton residents, I have been fascinated with the façade restoration of the Jones Building in downtown Canton. In many ways, it seems like the heart and soul of Canton is finally being revealed. I can’t help but note the symbolic nature of this exciting restoration project. Once the pseudo contemporary shell is removed, Canton will embrace its past and celebrate its future.
Thanks to the collaboration and cooperation between Cherokee
County, the City of Canton, the Canton DDA and the pending public/private
partnership with Westbridge Partners in Atlanta, the Jones Mercantile will,
once again, be the center of activity in our vibrant and promising central
business district. In addition to this keynote project, we are seeing other
signs of life in the area. At last week’s exceptional First Friday event, our
citizens were treated to the opening night of a fantastic high quality
boutique, b. loved. The owner, Mandy Spell, has invested her heart and soul
into another historic space in the Galt building, now home of Grant Design
Collaborative. Mandy has the vision, style and grace we have been missing. In
the next few weeks, a state-of-the art and innovative home theater company,
Audio Intersection, will open its new showroom in the former location of Yawn’s
Books. Its owner, Michael Buckner, has invested a significant amount of
resources – in addition to blood, sweat and tears – into giving the former
Kessler’s Five and Dime department store a new lease on life. Not only will it
showcase the latest technology in home theater integration products, the space
will also feature a premium espresso and coffee bar.
Historic downtown Canton is poised for a renaissance, and
our community seems ready to embrace it at every level. We have an opportunity
to celebrate and accelerate our downtown accomplishments, and the recent
developments invite us to reconsider the promise of civility, good will,
cooperation and collective pride in our community. The cumulative impact of
these public/private partnerships will be substantial for our local economy and
state-of-mind. The truly revealing nature of these circumstances will be how
our elected officials respond to this substantial opportunity.
As the dated and false front of the Jones building is removed, let us journey back to the future and dedicate ourselves to a new era of communal pride and unbounded joy. While a certain degree of healthy skepticism of our elected officials is necessary and productive, don’t let the hope and camaraderie of a remarkable city to be enveloped in negativity for another forty years. Here’s hoping the restoration will be powerful, collaborative and lasting.