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“The unique physical characteristics of the Etowah River Watershed make it one of the most biodiverse river systems in the U.S. It’s proximity to one of the country’s most rapidly growing urban areas makes it one of the most threatened.” Canton Comprehensive Plan, 2008

and business owners in the city to hear their views for the future of Canton. TSW also hosted town hall meetings at City Hall and local coffee shop Cup Up in order to obtain citizen input about Canton’s future. Ideas from those interactions included: • A desire for more dining options, more retail and specialty stores. • Parking solutions. • Residential units in town. • Trails and recreation, cultural arts and jobs. People want to work closer to home and not waste time in their cars. Also discussed were infrastructure improvements; public safety support; improved walkability; and connecting downtown to the Etowah River, thus making the river a destination for recreation, education and healthy activity. Historic preservation concerns also surfaced, and many residents suggested keeping our historic buildings intact would increase property values and contribute to sense of community. Input stressed more downtown activities and festivals, and attractions

and sports at the existing parks where adults and children could enjoy themselves. So what is the main focus? The rough data show that people want a safe and attractive place to live with recreational/ shopping/dining opportunities nearby and a place to earn a good living in their community. Hence, a place to live–work–play. The final product will be finished by June. At that time, Canton city staff and council members will determine a timeline and priority list to implement the study’s findings. It’s an exciting time to be in Canton, and your mayor and council are committed to move Canton Forward. More information about the LCI update and master plan for downtown and the River Mill District can be found at www.CantonForward.com.

City Council member Sandy McGrew has lived in Canton 10 years and is on the board of directors of the Cherokee Arts Center.

SIXES LIVING | May 2016

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