Canton develops plan to improve city in hopes of attracting visitors

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 4:03 PM CST
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CANTON, Missouri (WGEM) - A new master plan in Canton aims to keep people in town as the city develops.

The plan calls for supporting local businesses, revamping downtown and using signage and new public places to attract visitors.

The city is working alongside Missouri Main Street Connection for this project, a nonprofit organization devoted to preservation-based economic development.

Canton Mayor Jarrod Phillips hopes this plan will inspire residents to stay in the rural city.

“We need to be looking out five, 10, 15 years,” Phillips said. “We want to hold onto the folks that we have. We want to see if we can attract a few more while maintaining that small town feel and that quality of life.”

Business owners are excited about the potential for more visitors coming to town with the new improvements.

“People love going to beautiful towns, and I think that this plan will not only help this become a beautiful town,” said Vance Lasala, Flower Mill and Trading Post owner. “But even a more prosperous town, by bringing in new businesses which will attract more people.”

He says his store heavily relies on visitors coming to the area.

“As a gun dealer from a small town, you really rely on people coming in from outside of town because there’s only so many people to sell guns to in this town,” Lasala said.

The plan also looks at ways to entice students at Culver-Stockton College to stay in the community after graduation.

Phillips said city leaders must keep evolving and coming up with new solutions to grow the community.

“I think there’s so many needs out there, we can’t just stop and focus on one,” he said.

The master plan has been in the works for more than a year-and-a-half, and Phillips said it will continue to be a multi-year plan. It will be funded through grants and low-interest loans.

You can view the full master plan here.

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