Council Member Glen Cummins noted that a lot of developments that have come to Canton have been negotiated through COED, and the county has shown interest in renovating the Jones building in downtown Canton in hopes of spurring economic growth.
“It’s a reasonable request, and I’d like everybody to think about it. I personally think we should do it,” Cummins said.
Council Member Hooky Huffman said he wants to see the city support COED as well as hire an economic development director of its own.
“I’ve always wanted to be more aggressive with our economic development. I’d like to do both. Our employees need raises, our city needs revenue, and one of the quickest ways to do that is to bring in new business,” he said, noting that he thinks hiring an economic development director for the city should take priority over supporting COED.
Council Member Jack Goodwin said he, too, is in favor of supporting COED.
“We should try to support it somewhat. I don’t know about to the tune of $25,000,” he said. Goodwin added that he would like the City Council to have a promotions budget to help attract businesses. He also said he supports hiring an economic development director for the city.
“We’ve got to get out and meet people. Otherwise, we’re just hoping they’ll come through Canton,” he said.
With Northside Hospital building a replacement facility between Highway 20 and Highway 140 in Canton, Huffman said the timing seems right to move forward on economic development.
Mayor Gene Hobgood said 70 percent of capital investment in the city over the last three years has happened with the help of COED, resulting in $55 million in investment and 371 jobs.