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Canton Shines in 2022!

Another new year is well underway in the Coolest Small Town in America, and it's off to a great start. I am honored and excited to announce the City of Canton has received the 2022 Visionary City Award from the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) and Georgia Trend magazine. The award recognizes cities that have exhibited success in planning and forward-thinking in the areas of civic engagement and collaboration.


This award is a huge achievement, and only eight other cities in the state were recognized in this way.

On January 23, members of the City Council and I received this honor at the Cities United Summit luncheon at the Hilton Atlanta Hotel. The Summit luncheon attendees included Georgia's top elected officials as well as elected officials and local leaders from cities across the state.

"These visionary cities exemplify what it means to be forward-thinking for their residents and generations to come and also serve as inspiring examples of civility, collaboration, and creating communities of positive change across Georgia," said GMA Executive Director Larry Hanson.

Canton was recognized as a Visionary City based on our Roadmap for Success, which outlines the community standards we use to evaluate all projects, programs, developments, budgets, and ideas. Through our Roadmap and its eight tenets, we have created a 15-year framework for planning, a guide for evaluating choices and trade-offs, and a map for moving forward.

Both GMA and Georgia Trend were impressed with how the strategic plan was created through the collective ideas of Canton's City Council, citizens, customers, and volunteers, and the clarity with which it communicates the City's priorities in a succinct and coherent manner.

Planning and managing growth are never easy, especially in a city that has been adding an average of 1,275 residents annually for more than two decades. As Canton grows, so do our challenges: new and diverse housing, more commercial development, increased infrastructure, added public safety resources, park space demands, and ongoing communication effectiveness.

On a daily basis, the City deals with conflicting pressures for historic preservation, a commitment to maintaining a small-town atmosphere from residents who want limited growth, and those who want more business and recreational activities. Our Council and staff work tirelessly to balance these challenges that are seen across metro Atlanta, and our Roadmap is helping us navigate change in a thoughtful and strategic manner.

"Visionary" is certainly a lofty word, and long-term vision is often not comprehended until years after a plan has come together in an organized fashion. I am confident our Roadmap for Success will continue to deliver excellent results for our residents, businesses, and visitors.

Through its recognition as an innovative approach to municipal planning in the state and regionally, our Roadmap process can be replicated in other high-growth communities or in areas that need to be reimagined for the future. For our Council and me, that may be the most exciting aspect of all – not only "Leading with Excellence" in Canton but also providing a written, working example for other communities to discover and translate vision into reality.
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