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