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Canton city officials working on long-term strategic plan

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Changes could be coming to Canton, Missouri soon, as city and community leaders begin work on a long-term strategic plan for the city.

City officials said they're partnering with state and federal groups, including Main Street America, with the goal of developing a plan for the whole city, from the river to the highway.

"It's actually very exciting, a lot of small towns you don't see a lot of the motivation and you watch them dying away, and I will give them that, this main street committee has been very involved in trying to bring the city back and trying to bring new growth," said Shelter Insurance Canton owner and Chamber of Commerce member Richard Horner.

He said a strategy to breathe new life into the city of canton could help drive more business his way.

"Hopefully we'll see new businesses opening up, a little more foot traffic in town, and with that hopefully we see more jobs created in town, and things start to improve," said Horner.

Another aim of the plan, improving housing stock.

Residents like Mary Kay Lane, who recently bought a house, said that's a good idea.

"Well we moved here about a year and a half ago, and it took us about a year to find a home," said Lane, "most of the homes we looked at were not appropriate for moving into."

While everyone wants growth, making that happen can be a challenge.

Mayor Jarrod Phillips said they're working with many of the groups that developed a similar plan for Marceline, Missouri.

"We are wanting to chart the course for the future, we don't want to just blindly stumble from one goal to the next, we want to have a clear line to where we want to go and how we want to get there," said Mayor Phillips.

Mayor Phillips said developers, architects, landscapers, and economic development consultants will all be a part of making the plan to help grow Canton.

"[It's to figure out] how we can be the best small little town in Northeast Missouri that we can be," said Mayor Phillips.

Mayor Phillips said they aim to have big community involvement in the process, including employers, community organizations, and individual input.

The first consultants will arrive in town on Monday, ahead of a larger public meeting later in Feburary.

That meeting will be on Wednesday, February 19th at 6 P.M. at 400 Lewis Street in Canton.

Organizers said anyone in the community is invited.

They said when the plan is complete, it could take 15 or more years to complete.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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