Cedar­town seeks to at­tract new busi­nesses with depart­ment re-or­ga­ni­za­tion

Tourism and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment will be big fo­cus in 2019 as em­ploy­ees come to­gether in one ef­fort

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Myrick [email protected]­stan­dard­jour­nal.net

The City of Cedar­town will be fo­cus­ing ef­forts to at­tract new busi­nesses and guests to the area in the com­ing year, and a first proac­tive step to­ward that goal was taken dur­ing the lat­est work ses­sion.

Cedar­town Com­mis­sion­ers all agreed with a plan put forth by City Man­ager Bill Fann to con­sol­i­date ef­forts of sev­eral em­ploy­ees un­der one new group start­ing in the forth­com­ing new year, to be named the Tourism and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment depart­ment.

It’ll take the cur­rent po­si­tions held by Pub­lic In­for­ma­tion Of­fi­cer and As­sis­tant City Clerk Aimee Mad­den, the Cedar­town Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter Di­rec­tor Os­car Guz­man, and Main Street Di­rec­tor Ra­mona Ruark and com­bine their ef­forts to push forth new events and op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Fann said he’d al­ready dis­cussed the plan with com­mis­sion­ers on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis, but that he was now ready to for­mally an­nounce the plans as the city looks to for­mal­ize their 2019 bud­get. He also said that with the re­or­ga­ni­za­tion, Guz­man would go from a part time to a full time em­ployee in his role over­see­ing the CPAC.

“With their ef­forts com­bined and as­sist­ing each other, it will only make our ex­ist­ing events bet­ter and cre­ate more spe­cial events in co­or­di­na­tion with spe­cial events com­mit­tee we talked about,” Fann said.

Or­ga­ni­za­tion of the com­mit­tee is still un­der­way, and those in­ter­ested in serv­ing can con­tact Mad­den at the city at 770-748-3220.

Fann said he en­vi­sioned the new spe­cial event com­mit­tee and the cur­rent CPAC com­mit­tee mem­bers to act in ad­vi­sory roles, and that some le­gal doc­u­men­ta­tion is still be­ing com­pleted in or­der to fig­ure out how to han­dle al­co­hol sales at spe­cial events at the au­di­to­rium.

The new depart­ment and staff are slated to be­gin in the role start­ing in Jan­uary 2019.

Mad­den, who will re­main the city’s Pub­lic In­for­ma­tion Of­fi­cer, will shed her ti­tle of As­sis­tant City Clerk in the re­or­ga­ni­za­tion. She’ll now serve as Di­rec­tor of the city’s Tourism and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment depart­ment.

Fann said that he ex­pects great things to come from the depart­ment over the long term. He did cau­tion com­mis­sion­ers to be pa­tient in the short term and al­low the group to lay down for­mal plans for the fu­ture.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Fann said he does ex­pect only a slight in­crease in spend­ing, only be­cause Guz­man’s move to a full time role with the city will in­crease his pay.

Com­mis­sion­ers were ex­cited about the pos­si­bil­i­ties with the re-or­ga­ni­za­tion and new depart­ment.

“I like it a lot,” Com­mis­sioner Matt Foster said.

Foster added that he ap­pre­ci­ated the work put in by Fann and em­ploy­ees. Fann cred­ited the idea to the city’s Fi­nance Of­fi­cer Amy Ore­baugh. He said the two worked on it to­gether and “came up with a good plan.”

Com­mis­sioner Dale Tuck added her own hopes that the city would soon take up an idea to add string lights above Main Street in down­town Cedar­town in the com­ing months.

That was one of the ideas given to the cities by the Down­town Come­back visit from HGTV’s Home Town stars Mal­lo­rie and Jim Ras­berry along with Josh Now­ell who came to visit in late Septem­ber and tour Polk County thanks to the ef­forts of Blair El­rod at the Polk County Cham­ber of Com­merce.

They rec­om­mended the cities string lights above the his­toric down­town cor­ri­dors to at­tract more use of the area at night year round on Main and Mar­ble Streets.

Fann also men­tioned re­cent vis­its from state agen­cies and tourism of­fi­cials, and the re­cent des­ig­na­tion as a re­gional vis­i­tor’s cen­ter for the Cedar­town Wel­come Cen­ter and De­pot as some of the driv­ing fac­tors for the forth­com­ing re­or­ga­ni­za­tion as well.

He said one of those vis­its is set to bear fruit in 2019. The state’s Tourism Prod­uct De­vel­op­ment team are pre­par­ing a re­port on how they think Cedar­town can best uti­lize cur­rent as­sets. It is ex­pected to be com­pleted early in the com­ing year.

In­for­ma­tion about events and plan­ning will flow through one depart­ment once ev­ery­thing is in place, in­stead of those who want more de­tails or pa­per­work on hold­ing events at the au­di­to­rium or tak­ing part in fes­ti­vals as ven­dors con­tact­ing sev­eral places be­fore find­ing what they need.

Fann also an­tic­i­pates an in­crease in money be­ing spent lo­cally as the depart­ment grows op­por­tu­ni­ties in the City of Cedar­town as well.

“It stream­lines a lot of what we’re al­ready do­ing,” Fann said.

♦ Kevin Myrick

Com­mis­sion­ers An­drew Carter, Matt Foster and Jor­dan Hub­bardlis­ten as City Man­ager Bill Fannre­views plans to cre­ate the Tourism and Eco­nomicDe­vel­op­ment depart­ment withincity govern­ment.

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