Canton mulling economic growth, development head
by Erin Dentmon
edentmon@cherokeetribune.com
February 23, 2013 12:00 AM | 1549 views | 3 3 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — While the Canton City Council didn’t take a vote on the matter, Council members voiced their support for helping fund the Cherokee Office of Economic Development during Thursday night’s Council meeting.

Council Member Glen Cummins noted that a lot of developments that have come to Canton have been negotiated through COED, and the county has shown interest in renovating the Jones building in downtown Canton in hopes of spurring economic growth.

“It’s a reasonable request, and I’d like everybody to think about it. I personally think we should do it,” Cummins said.

Council Member Hooky Huffman said he wants to see the city support COED as well as hire an economic development director of its own.

“I’ve always wanted to be more aggressive with our economic development. I’d like to do both. Our employees need raises, our city needs revenue, and one of the quickest ways to do that is to bring in new business,” he said, noting that he thinks hiring an economic development director for the city should take priority over supporting COED.

Council Member Jack Goodwin said he, too, is in favor of supporting COED.

“We should try to support it somewhat. I don’t know about to the tune of $25,000,” he said. Goodwin added that he would like the City Council to have a promotions budget to help attract businesses. He also said he supports hiring an economic development director for the city.

“We’ve got to get out and meet people. Otherwise, we’re just hoping they’ll come through Canton,” he said.

With Northside Hospital building a replacement facility between Highway 20 and Highway 140 in Canton, Huffman said the timing seems right to move forward on economic development.

Mayor Gene Hobgood said 70 percent of capital investment in the city over the last three years has happened with the help of COED, resulting in $55 million in investment and 371 jobs.

Comments
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Ed A
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February 26, 2013
Why does the City of Canton need its own Economic Development office? The county is doing a fine job, and the Council should work closer with them to develop the existing infrastructure, such as the Bluffs. This is just another example of the isolationist practices of the current council. Even when they had someone who worked tirelessly to develop downtown Canton, the Main Street Director, they antagonized and bullied her until she left. Now, they want their "own" person in place to throw darts at a moving target? Without a clear and supported VISION for Canton, an Economic Development position will FAIL! It is up to the Mayor and Council to create and AGREE to a vision for our city, and then and only then, would it be appropriate to consider and Economic Development position. After all, it would be their job to SELL the city's vision as opposed to magically pulling one out of their hat.
DetailsAreGood
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February 25, 2013
Would be nice if you explained what/where exactly "the Jones building" is rather than assuming all know.
Nicole.
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March 01, 2013
The Jones building used to house Jones Department Store for years in Canton. It also housed the post office at one time and various other county offices. I haven't lived in Canton for years so I'm not sure what is there now. It is in downtown Canton across from the old theatre. I hope that gives you somewhat of an idea.
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