Cedar­town sees big growth in 2017

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Kevin Myrick SJ Edi­tor

An­other busy year for the em­ploy­ees at t he City of Cedar­town is wind­ing down in these fi­nal days of 2017, and as of­fi­cials look back on the year, there’s much to cel­e­brate.

In­vest­ment was the main fo­cus of the year for the city, whether it be in­dus­tries and stores de­cid­ing to ex­pand into the area, or with po­ten­tial pro­mo­tion t o come af­ter down­town was trans­formed for an early Christ­mas to be fea­tured on the small screens in homes and hands across the globe.

City Man­ager Bill Fann cel­e­brated in the past, and again this year his and the em­ployee’s hard work to en­sure the cit­i­zen’s of Cedar­town are get­ting a good deal for their tax dol­lars, every minute of every day.

For starters, the bud­get re­mained bal­anced and added some ad­di­tional money to the sur­plus. He can cer­tainly smile about the fact that projects wrapped up on time and un­der what was ex­pected. Most im­por­tantly though, Fann be­lieves the big­gest news of all for the year was that of i nvest­ment back i nto t he com­mu­nity as a whole from long­time part­ners.

“Ob­vi­ously for most of the folks, it would be our five in­dus­try ex­pan­sions,” Fann said. “From a jobs per­spec­tive, the in­dus­try ex­pan­sions are very im­por­tant to us.”

Those big an­nounce­ments f rom The HON Com­pany, Cedarstream, No­rax, GEO Spe­cialty Chem­i­cal and com­ple­tion of the Ki­moto Tech pro­duc­tion line ex­pan­sion are all part of cov­er­age in this week’s edi­tion as well, but Fann felt they will have an es­pe­cially big im­pact on the work to come in 2018, when they go court­ing more peo­ple to invest in the county.

How­ever in “this old Pub­lic Works di­rec­tor’s view” one of the big­gest items of the year that might end up help­ing the most over the long term is the com­ple­tion of the sewer line re­place­ment project in the Goodyear Mill vil­lage.

“That will help a lot of folks out in an area where the old­est part of our sewer sys­tem was,” Fann said.

He ad­di­tion­ally had high praise for the hard work depart­ment heads took in mak­ing sure city em­ploy­ees were spend­ing every dol­lar and cent prop­erly, and for be­ing rec­og­nized for a va­ri­ety of achieve­ments through the year.

The city even put all of these high­lights to­gether in a multi-page re­view avail­able with t his story on­line at Polk­stan­dard­jour­nal. com start­ing this morn­ing.

Here’s an over­view of some of what the city ac­com­plished in 2017:

Trac­tor Sup­ply com­ing soon

The build­ing is all done, and now it is just a mat­ter of the fin­ish­ing touches, stock­ing the store and hir­ing work­ers for Trac­tor Sup­ply Com­pany’s new lo­ca­tion on High­way 27 near the be­gin­ning of the by­pass, across from Wal­mart and next door to Home De­pot.

There’s room to ex­pand for those in­ter­ested in open­ing up a store in the area around the chain which has a va­ri­ety of cloth­ing, goods and sup­plies for out­door and farm­ing life.

Trac­tor Sup­ply an­nounced their in­ten­tions to open a store in late Novem­ber 2016, but work didn’t get un­der­way un­til this past spring. An an­nounce­ment for a cel­e­bra­tion to wel­come the store to the com­mu­nity is ex­pected soon, with some­time in Fe­bru­ary as a tar­get date on the Stan­dard Jour­nal’s radar for open­ing.

Southcrest Bank pur­chase goes through

Cedar­town ex­panded their build­ing as­sets down­town with the in­ten­tions of even­tu­ally mov­ing t he Polk County His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety mu­seum out of Hawkes Li­brary and pro­vide a more ac­ces­si­ble lo­ca­tion for visi­tors and lo­cals alike. In a deal struck late last year and fi­nal­ized in Jan­uary, the Cedar­town De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity through an in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal agree­ment with the city agreed to a $250,000 price tag to pur­chase the old West Av­enue bank lo­ca­tion, plus sev­eral park­ing lots and the old teller lanes on South Col­lege Street.

The mu­seum hasn’t moved yet, and ren­o­va­tions are still needed on the build­ing be­fore they can take over the space.

“They have a good de­sign plan, but chang­ing that first f l oor bath­room t o be­ing hand­i­capped ac­ces­si­ble is go­ing to be a big item on the list, be­cause it will re­quire some de­mo­li­tion,” Fann said.

Work and ma­te­ri­als are be­ing do­nated on a as-needed ba­sis to the mu­seum as the work gets ready for 2018.

Vin­ings at Ox­ford opens for po­ten­tial res­i­dents

One big in­vest­ment made in 2017 in the city was in the form of new hous­ing across the by­pass from Cedar­town Mid­dle School.

The Vin­ings at Ox­ford t own­house- style com­plex sports 62 fam­ily town-homes com­prised of 9 1- bed­room homes, 32 2-bed­room homes, and 21 3-bed­room homes.

They started tak­ing ap­pli­ca­tions ear­lier in the year for res­i­dents, and of­fi­cially opened their doors back in Novem­ber.

The prop­erty was de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with lo­cal, state and fed­eral of­fi­cials and un­der the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Af­fairs. The Vin­ings at Ox­ford is a multi- fam­ily de­vel­op­ment for res­i­dents whose in­di­vid­ual or fam­ily in­comes are 60 per­cent or less of the area me­dian in­come.

Projects wrapped up in 2017, one put on hold

A part of the Cedar­town waste­water sys­tem got a much needed up­grade over the sum­mer thanks to funds from both the city and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Block Grants to help make the up­grade to sewer lines in the Goodyear Vil­lage this year.

That project that got un­der­way over the sum­mer was prob­a­bly one of the big­gest of the year, but not the only one. Mi­nor im­prove­ments, paving, and a new look for Big Spring Park in down­town Cedar­town were just some of the im­prove­ments made dur­ing the year. John Hand Road along with al­most a mile of paving on Cave Spring Road and al­most half a mile of paving on Blanche Road and Lake­side Drive were fin­ished up this year.

Cedar­town also is work­ing to bid out a new 8-inch wa­ter line to serve the new St. Ber­nadette’s Catholic Church com­plex that con­struc­tion started on ear­lier this year and con­tin­ues as the year com­pletes.

The city also bought a new knuckle boom truck which is still wait­ing for de­liv­ery, and a new tran­sit bus was also re­ceived. One item put on hold for now un­til more funds can be made avail­able: the build­ing of the Lank­ford Events Cen­ter. The land was cleared in 2016 and dis­cus­sions were on­go­ing on how to save money to put to­gether the new fa­cil­ity at the for­mer Lank­ford Mo­tor Co. prop­erty, but even cuts to costs couldn’t bring down ex­ces­sive bids, and the events cen­ter has been tabled for the time be­ing.

Visi­tors bring­ing Cedar­town

to small screen, more

Of all the big news com­ing out of Cedar­town this year, the role it plays on the small screen in the com­ing year was prob­a­bly one of the big­gest sto­ries for the city.

A good por­tion of “Hap and Leonard” Sea­son 3 — de­but­ing in Spring 2018 — was filmed right here in Polk County on Main Street and in other lo­ca­tions as Cedar­town was trans­formed for a few months into Grove­town, Texas dur­ing the holiday sea­son of 1989.

The sev­eral days of film­ing in Cedar­town has prompted the City Com­mis­sion to look at draft­ing and im­ple­ment­ing a film or­di­nance, with the hopes that by stan­dard­iz­ing con­tracts for use of spa­ces within the city they’ll at­tract more pro­duc­tions to use the area in the years ahead.

The film crews weren’t the only ones to make a stop in Cedar­town of note. A num­ber of peo­ple were f orced t o lay­over in Cedar­town and Rock­mart dur­ing evac­u­a­tions for Hur­ri­cane Maria dur­ing the late sum­mer weeks, and those the Stan­dard Jour­nal in­ter­viewed at the time from Florida and coastal Ge­or­gia re­turned home with only mi­nor dam­age.

The city also got vis­its from travel writ­ers thanks to the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Tourism, Wel­come Cen­ter di­rec­tors from around the s t ate, and t ours of One Door Polk by the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Af­fairs and the Ap­palachian Re­gional Com­mis­sion.

Look­ing ahead

City res­i­dents have much to look for­ward to in the year ahead. Fann said the city will face chal­lenges, but that with those come a re­newal by of­fi­cials to over­come the odds and make a dif­fer­ence. One top pri­or­ity on his list: con­tinue to en­cour­age and at­tract new busi­ness.

“We of course want to get more ac­tiv­ity go­ing,” Fann said. “So we’re go­ing to spend more time on not just in­dus­trial re­cruit­ment, but re­tail re­cruit­ment as well. We’re try­ing to be more ef­fec­tive with that in the com­ing year.”

Fann said too that it is his hopes to get grant money to be able to start at least on the first phase of a soc­cer com­plex at Goodyear Park.

“We’d like to get a least part of that done this com­ing year,” Fann said.

Marco Gomez Ro­quero, Ray Caron and City At­tor­ney Carey Pil­grim sat to­gether and signed agree­ments help­ing No­rax ex­pand in Cedar­town.

Aimee Mad­den /

City of Cedar­town

Crew get ready to try an­other take dur­ing a brief rain scene for “Hap and Leonard” on Cedar­town’s Main Street.

SJ, Kevin Myrick /


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