CANTON, Mo. -- The Canton Board of Aldermen agreed this week to hire Missouri Main Street Connection to develop a comprehensive community plan for the city.
The plan will be developed over the next two years in cooperation with the Canton Main Street program. The plan will then serve as a guide for Canton's future land uses and public improvements through 2030.
"They'll be bringing in architects, engineers and folks in economic development to look at the community and develop a long-range plan that should guide us for the next five to 10 years," Mayor Jarrod Phillips said in an interview.
Consultants from Missouri Main Street Connection will visit Canton and hold a series of meetings with residents, city officials, students and business and community leaders -- along with representatives from Culver-Stockton College -- to develop a vision for the city's future. The agency will then use that vision to formulate the community plan.
The plan will look at such things as infrastructure, housing stock, economic growth, business retention and other factors. It also will suggest steps for making improvements.
The board authorized Phillips to sign a contract with Missouri Main Street Connection to proceed with the project, which will cost $60,000. The Missouri Main Street Connection will pay half the cost -- $30,000 -- using grant money it received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help towns develop such plans.
The city must come up with the other half. The Board of Aldermen has pledged to provide about $15,000 from the city's budget, and city officials are trying to raise the remaining $15,000 from local donations. So far, Phillips said, the city's Tourism Commission has pledged $3,250, Culver-Stockton College gave $3,000, and Ayers Oil Co. donated $2,500.
That leaves $6,250 still to be raised, "but we have until next May to do that," Phillips said. "Hopefully we can do some fundraising, and some of our businesses here in town will continue to chip in and make this a true partnership."
Phillips said a comprehensive community plan will benefit Canton and the people who live, work, attend school and raise families there.
"Anytime that you try to do some kind of planning, you are laying a blueprint for where you want the community to go," he said. "Everybody will be coming together to kind of say, ‘This is where we want to see Canton in 2025 and again in 2030.' "
In other action, the board learned than an appraisal has not been completed on the former Golden Ruler building at 400 Lewis St., a second building at 103 N. Fourth and an adjacent parking lot -- all of which were offered to the city by Capps Stores for $230,000.
The city is contemplating a proposal to split City Hall into two locations by moving its administrative offices and the municipal court to the Golden Ruler site and keeping the Canton Police Department in the existing City Hall building. Doing this would be an alternative to a costly renovation of City Hall aimed at keeping all of the municipal operations under one roof.
Phillips said the board will be in a better position to evaluate its options once the property appraisal is done.
The board agreed to issue liquor licenses for two new businesses planning to open soon. Phillips said OC's will be reopening, and the former Buckin' Bull Saloon plans to reopen as the Mystic Hookah Lounge.