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Reflecting on Ball Ground’s Growth

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind" is a line from the famous song, "Auld Lang Syne," written by Robert Burns in 1788. When translated into standard English, "Auld Lang Syne" has several different meanings: "old long since," "days gone by," or "old times." As we look back on the not-so-distant "old times" of Ball Ground, we must also look at what the future holds.

In the year 2000, Mayor A.R. (Rick) Roberts and the city council reaffirmed their decision to move forward with the construction of a sewage system. It would take another three years before the system would become operational. Once the word was out, developers came knocking on our door.

Looking for small and large tracts of property to develop, developers knew Ball Ground was the "place to be," because its small-town charm would attract those looking to move away from the Atlanta area. The largest annexation request came from Dr. James Funk for more than 159 acres located on Old Canton Road and Canton Highway. The second largest was from T.H.O. Associates for 158 acres on Old Dawsonville Road.

The Funk property is now a mixture of both residential, commercial, and industrial properties. It is also home to the Lantern Walk community, Ball Ground Pharmacy, and Universal Alloy Corporation. The 158 acres on Old Dawsonville Road became home to the Mountain Brook subdivision.

Ball Ground's downtown has, once again, come to life. The Ball Ground Burger Bus was the catalyst for making the downtown area a destination. Who would have ever thought that an old trolleybus from the streets of Atlanta would find its way to Ball Ground to become an office to Harris Lumber and then be restored to a restaurant that serves the best burgers and fries around?

While some saw old, empty buildings with marble stacks lining the streets as an eyesore, others looked past that and saw these buildings for what they could be. One by one, buildings once owned by the Robertson family and others have had new life breathed into them.

Another project that would move Ball Ground forward was the construction of Valley Street, which once ended where City Hall is located. This street extension opened up opportunities to build a much-needed new City Hall and elementary school. When talk of building a new school outside the city limits was discussed, Mayor Roberts and city council members worked tirelessly to keep Ball Ground Elementary School in town. Mayor Roberts wanted the children to have the experience of walking to school like he did.

In the past 22 years under Mayor Roberts' leadership as well as Councilmembers John Byrd, Ashley Holcomb, Frank Homiller, Tom McDaniel, Mickey O'Malley, Lee Prettyman, and Andrena Stoner, Ball Ground has seen much growth. Stay tuned for March's column, when we'll take another walk down memory lane. 

Canton Resolves To Maintain Forward Momentum This ...
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