December 2021 News & Updates
Wishing you a very happy and joyful holiday season!
Last week, I received an email from a gentleman who had recently celebrated his birthday with his wife and two adult children in one of his favorite Canton restaurants. He mentioned the food was great, as always, but after dinner, they strolled through Canton to marvel at the amazing lights and holiday decorations, stopping to take lots of family photos along the way. He said it was a magical night and perfect place to spend a momentous birthday. He ended by saying, “I would also like to note that all three couples were not local but from Dallas, Carrollton, and Chamblee, so we travelled a good distance to enjoy your great restaurants and beautiful town. Thank you for a great evening!”
As you can imagine, our Council members or I rarely receive emails of this nature, just to remind us of what a truly special place we celebrate here in Canton, especially not from individuals outside of our city. Last month, I enjoyed seeing all of the social media posts and photos about the amazing Gingko trees in downtown, and they were, indeed, spectacular this year! As we enter into the holidays, it is also heartwarming to see how many of our residents stop to take photos with their friends and loved ones by the large Christmas tree in Cannon Park. Others post videos of a fun night out as the annual parade with Santa in tow rolls through the streets or clips of their kids gazing with wonder at the wonderful window displays in the Jones Building. As people often say, we do live the holidays in a “Hallmark movie” setting.
The holidays ground us. They remind us of who we are, of the importance of our family and community, and the shared values and dreams that guide us along our roadmap for success. May the hope and joy we celebrate this season carry us forward with new resolve to support each other, and our city, in the kindest way possible.
The season is also a great time to reflect on the past year as we prepare for a new one. 2021 has been filled with exciting new opportunities for our City, and our Council has accomplished a lot with your support. Heading into 2022, our team is inspired to achieve even more for Canton in our quest to become the Coolest Small Town In America. I am grateful for a City Council that encourages me to do my best work, every day. They are a talented group of leaders who work tirelessly to make our City a better place to live, work, play, and serve. I am thankful for a City Manager and Assistant City Manager that combine steadfast knowledge with creative implementation, and we are so fortunate to have Department Heads and a committed staff that support all of our efforts. Of course, we can never thank our Canton Police Department and Chief Merrifield enough for all they do to keep us safe every day of the year. I also sincerely appreciate how our boards, committees, and residents work together to make our community better by showing compassion to those in need and sharing in the optimism for moving Canton forward.
Most of all, I am honored and humbled to serve as your Mayor, and I wish each of you and your loved ones a very happy and joyful holiday season! - Mayor Bill Grant
Holiday in My Hometown Art Contest Winners Announced
Again this year, the City of Canton held its annual Holiday in My Hometown children's art contest. The purpose of the contest is to promote the sense of community during the holiday season. Artists can pick any holiday between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. There is not a requirement that any particular holiday be included, such as Christmas or Hanukkah, but that the holiday art represents the family and culture of the artist.

Entries for the contest come from students enrolled at Hasty Elementary, Indian Knoll Elementary, Knox Elementary, R.M. Moore Elementary, Teasley Middle and Cherokee High. Each school selected an overall winner, and the winning pieces are displayed on the City's print and electronic media, on canvas at City Hall, and around the community during the period of time from Thanksgiving through the first full week of January.

The overall winners were also recognized at the Dec. 2 Canton City Council Meeting along with their art. Each student winner received a $100 Visa gift card, their artwork printed on canvas and printed on either postcards or bi-fold cards.
The winners of this year's contest are:
Dolly Gabriel Mendez, 5th Grade,
RM Moore Elementary

William Foreman, 7th Grade, Teasley Middle
Declan Wright, 5th Grade,
Knox Elementary
Thy Tran, 4th Grade,
Indian Knoll Elementary

Left: Ingrid Antontio Francisco, 5th Grade,
Hasty Elementary

Below: Ariel Strock, 9th Grade,
Cherokee High School
Make a Mark with the BenchMark Program!
Need a unique gift? A special way to honor someone? Want to share the memory of a loved one? The City of Canton is now offering a program to purchase a plaque, bench, or both together as a tribute to someone special. The BenchMark Program was the idea of Councilor JoEllen Wilson, who thought the City needed this opportunity in our beautiful parks.

“About one year ago, a constituent asked if she might place a plaque on one of the City Park Benches in honor of her uncle - a former Council Member,” explained Wilson. “I had been interested in this project for a while having visited Rolater Park in Cave Spring, Ga., where I often enjoy their Memorial Benches.

“As I walk in Etowah River Park, it is such a respite to have lovely benches on which to rest,” she continued. “Adding the name(s) of those we wish to honor or memorialize will help as we rest and enjoy the view.”

The BenchMark Program is open to everyone, and not exclusive to City of Canton residents. The cost for an installed plaque, including the engraving of 4 lines, with 28 characters per line, is $200. To purchase a bench installed with the engraved plaque is $1,300. Cost and product availability are subject to change. The City will choose the placement of plaques on current benches and the installation location of new benches.

“As you think about Christmas, Birthdays, Anniversaries or other occasions, consider placing a plaque on a City Park Bench,” said Wilson. “You may even want to purchase a bench AND plaque. Both options are available for you. What a great way to let those you love know your feelings!”

For more information or to order a plaque/bench, contact Adam Dodson, Parks and Recreation Manager, at [email protected]

Holiday Market & Parade, Presented by the Canton Optimist Club, Dec. 4, from 12-8 PM
The Canton Optimist Club presents a Holiday Market and Parade on Dec. 4 in Downtown Canton. Shop for holiday gifts amongst the market vendors around Cannon Park, as well as in the Downtown shops from 12-8 p.m. Santa will make an appearance in the park gazebo from 3-5 p.m. The parade fun starts at 6 p.m. and will feature classic cars, carolers, and floats! Don't miss this holiday extravaganza! 

Christmas in Canton, Dec. 10, from 6-9 PM
The holidays will be in full swing for the Christmas in Canton celebration. On Dec. 10, from 6-9 p.m., young, old and all in between are invited to visit with Santa, enjoy a feature showing of Polar Express, hop on a train ride through Downtown, make s’mores around a warm bonfire, and so much more! Stores in Downtown will be open extended hours for all your Christmas shopping needs.

Visit with Santa, Dec. 11 & 18, from 11 AM-2 PM
Dec. 11 and 18, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on each date, you can visit with the jolly ole’ fella himself at the Cannon Park Gazebo in Downtown Canton. Bring your Christmas wish list and your camera to capture the magic. 
Special Project Updates provided by
City Manager Billy Peppers
#LoveLocal for the Holidays
Beginning December 1 through December 16, Main Street Canton encourages the public to shop and #LoveLocal for the Holidays. Punch cards will be available in downtown restaurants and shops. Customers will receive a punch for every $10 spent. Completed punch cards can be turned into A Cone to Pick or Bizarre Coffee by noon December 17 for a chance to be 1 of 5 lucky winners for $100 in "Cool Cash" to spend downtown.

Old Ball Ground Sewer Expansion & Etowah River Trail Connection between Heritage and Boling Parks
Construction is proceeding but work along the Etowah River has been slow due to the depth of the sewer (35-ft. Deep). Construction of the trail is scheduled to begin late 2021/early 2022.

Riverstone Parkway Pedestrian Crossing
The City Council approved a task order with Atkins to begin a study for pedestrian safety in the area of Riverstone near Medical Lane and the Ingles Shopping Center.

Etowah Trail Bridge Replacement
Materials are scheduled to be delivered this month. A section of the trail east of Interstate 575 will be closed down during the winter for completion of the project.
Only rain in the storm drain!
Stormwater runoff is one of the leading causes of water pollution in the United States. While some of the debris is easily visible like trash items and regular litter, the rain also transports other pollutants which are not as visible but far more harmful, like oil and grease, dissolved metals like lead and copper, and unnatural amounts of sediment from oily driveways, constructions sites, and roadways.

The stormwater system that includes everything from ditches and culverts, ponds and lakes, curbs and gutters, to wetlands and rain gardens, are not part of a treatment process at any point. This is why it is vital that we all do our part to protect our water and our environment by remembering “only rain in the storm drain.”

Recently during yearly stormwater inspections completed by the City of Canton, we found an array of items in the storm drains, from grass clippings and sports ball, to scooters and flat screen televisions. These are common issues caused from grass clippings being blown in the storm drain, children losing a soccer ball down the drain with no way of retrieving it, and televisions being put out for trash pick-up and then making their way down the drain.

Please be mindful of these things. If you have grass clippings, bag them up in yard debris bags, then call Public Works at 770-720-7674 for pick up. If you have extra trash or trash that is not picked up, please bring it to the Collection Site at 2525 Ridge Road. If you see any type of illicit discharge, please report it immediately at 770-720-7674 or email [email protected]
Vote for Downtown Canton!
Downtown Canton has made it to the TOP 25 in the Independent We Stand America's Main Streets Contest and has a chance to win $25,000! We've been here before and came in 5th for the Nation...We have big plans to assist our Downtown businesses with the $25,000 prize so our eye is on 1st place this year! And YOU can get us there!

Click the link and VOTE 25 times per day per IP address. Share with all your friends and let's bring the folks from Independent We Stand to the #CoolestSmallTownInAmerica! JOIN US AND #VoteForCanton!
December City Events & Meetings Listing
Council Meetings

Dates: Dec. 16; agendas available here; Upcoming: Jan. 6 & 20

When: all meetings begin at 6 p.m.

Where: City Hall Auditorium

How to attend: In-person, watch live here OR watch recording here

City Manager December Operations Report

For more updates and details about City of Canton projects, view the full City Manager's Monthly Operations Report at:

Events & Activities

Dec. 4, from 12-8 PM
Holiday Market & Parade, Presented by the Canton Optimist Club, Downtown Canton

Dec. 4-19 @ check website for times
Historic Canton Theatre

Dec. 10, from 6-9 PM
Downtown Canton

Dec. 11 & 18, from 11 AM-2 PM
Cannon Park Gazebo, Downtown Canton

Dec. 21 @ 7 PM
Historic Canton Theatre

For more event details, visit
Let's Connect!
If you have any questions or suggestions for the City newsletter, reach out to Lauren Johnson, Communications and Marketing Specialist, at [email protected]