Grant, along with Sandy McGrew and John Rust, will be sworn into office on the Canton City Council tonight to fill the seats of three retiring councilmen.
A longtime business owner in downtown Canton, Grant said he fell in love with the city in 1996, when he drove through downtown on a whim. He said that happenstance trip was the beginning of a 17-year-long love affair with the city.
“I really love the small-town feel. I love the character. I like being close enough to Atlanta to access it when I need to for services or recreation purposes, but I, at the end of the day, can come home to a small town,” said Grant, 51, a native of Dalton. “Most of all, I love the people.”
Considering this love of Canton and his desire to help it improve with quality development, Grant said his first order of business in office will be to try to encourage economic growth in the city.
Grant said his focus will first be set on the fees Canton charges to new businesses, which he said are out of line with other cities.
“I’d really like to address that very quickly,” Grant said. “I don’t think those fees have been reviewed in quite some time.”
During his time in Canton, Grant has been heavily involved in the community, serving on a number of committees and holding the chairman’s seat on the Main Street board since its inception.
Grant said improving the Main Street board could also help Canton grow while still maintaining its rich history.
“It’s seriously underfunded compared to other cities,” he said. “Main Street is really an economic revitalization program. We haven’t really had funding to really make it work that way.”
The newly-elected councilman said he hopes to seek out grants to help the Main Street program get more funding.
Grant said he and his design firm, Grant Design Collaborative, have also been working with Canton’s economic development coordinator to help guide new business owners through the process of setting up shop in the city.
“We’ve already been working and gotten together information for an ABC guide for opening a business in Canton that clearly lays out the path for a perspective business owner,” he said.Before winning his city council seat Nov. 5, Grant also ran his campaign from an economic development angle. He won the Ward 2 seat with 63.86 percent of the vote, besting Ari Durham in the race for retiring Councilman Bill Bryan’s seat.
Grant, who made an unsuccessful bid for the council in 2011, said he chose to run because he felt he has a fresh perspective to offer Canton.
“I felt like we needed to have more diversity of thought in the mix,” he said. “I had witnessed several elections since I came to Canton where there was no opposition in races for city council. I’ve just always wanted to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem.”