Hap and Leonard 2017

Crew get ready to try another take during a brief rain scene for "Hap and Leonard" on Friday midday, when traffic was shut down for a few hours to allow for the scene to be shot on Main Street in Cedartown. (Kevin Myrick/Standard Journal

Another busy year for the employees at the City of Cedartown is winding down in these final days of 2017, and as officials look back on the year, there’s much to celebrate.

Investment was the main focus of the year for the city, whether it be industries and stores deciding to expand into the area, or with potential promotion to come after downtown was transformed for an early Christmas to be featured on the small screens in homes and hands across the globe.

City Manager Bill Fann celebrated in the past, and again this year his and the employee’s hard work to ensure the citizen’s of Cedartown are getting a good deal for their tax dollars, every minute of every day.

For starters, the budget remained balanced and added some additional money to the surplus. He can certainly smile about the fact that projects wrapped up on time and under what was expected. Most importantly though, Fann believes the biggest news of all for the year was that of investment back into the community as a whole from longtime partners.

“Obviously for most of the folks, it would be our five industry expansions,” Fann said. “From a jobs perspective, the industry expansions are very important to us.”

Those big announcements from The HON Company, Cedarstream, Norax, GEO Specialty Chemical and completion of the Kimoto Tech production line expansion are all part of coverage in this week’s edition as well, but Fann felt they will have an especially big impact on the work to come in 2018, when they go courting more people to invest in the county.

However in “this old Public Works director’s view” one of the biggest items of the year that might end up helping the most over the long term is the completion of the sewer line replacement project in the Goodyear Mill village.

“That will help a lot of folks out in an area where the oldest part of our sewer system was,” Fann said.

He additionally had high praise for the hard work department heads took in making sure city employees were spending every dollar and cent properly, and for being recognized for a variety of achievements through the year.

The city even put all of these highlights together in a multi-page review available with this story online at Polkstandardjournal.com starting this morning.

Here’s an overview of some of what the city accomplished in 2017:

Tractor Supply coming soon

The building is all done, and now it is just a matter of the finishing touches, stocking the store and hiring workers for Tractor Supply Company’s new location on Highway 27 near the beginning of the bypass, across from Walmart and next door to Home Depot.

There’s room to expand for those interested in opening up a store in the area around the chain which has a variety of clothing, goods and supplies for outdoor and farming life.

Tractor Supply announced their intentions to open a store in late November 2016, but work didn’t get underway until this past spring. An announcement for a celebration to welcome the store to the community is expected soon, with sometime in February as a target date on the Standard Journal’s radar for opening.

Southcrest Bank purchase goes through

Cedartown expanded their building assets downtown with the intentions of eventually moving the Polk County Historical Society museum out of Hawkes Library and provide a more accessible location for visitors and locals alike. In a deal struck late last year and finalized in January, the Cedartown Development Authority through an intergovernmental agreement with the city agreed to a $250,000 price tag to purchase the old West Avenue bank location, plus several parking lots and the old teller lanes on South College Street.

The museum hasn’t moved yet, and renovations are still needed on the building before they can take over the space.

“They have a good design plan, but changing that first floor bathroom to being handicapped accessible is going to be a big item on the list, because it will require some demolition,” Fann said.

Work and materials are being donated on a as-needed basis to the museum as the work gets ready for 2018.

Vinings at Oxford opens for potential residents

One big investment made in 2017 in the city was in the form of new housing across the bypass from Cedartown Middle School.

The Vinings at Oxford townhouse-style complex sports 62 family town-homes comprised of 9 1-bedroom homes, 32 2-bedroom homes, and 21 3-bedroom homes.

They started taking app­lications earlier in the year for residents, and officially opened their doors back in November.

The property was developed in partnership with local, state and federal officials and under the administration of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The Vinings at Oxford is a multi-family development for residents whose individual or family incomes are 60 percent or less of the area median income.

Projects wrapped up in 2017, one put on hold

A part of the Cedartown wastewater system got a much needed upgrade over the summer thanks to funds from both the city and Community Development Block Grants to help make the upgrade to sewer lines in the Goodyear Village this year.

That project that got underway over the summer was probably one of the biggest of the year, but not the only one. Minor improvements, paving, and a new look for Big Spring Park in downtown Cedartown were just some of the improvements made during the year. John Hand Road along with almost a mile of paving on Cave Spring Road and almost half a mile of paving on Blanche Road and Lakeside Drive were finished up this year.

Cedartown also is working to bid out a new 8-inch water line to serve the new St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church complex that construction started on earlier this year and continues as the year completes.

The city also bought a new knuckle boom truck which is still waiting for delivery, and a new transit bus was also received. One item put on hold for now until more funds can be made available: the building of the Lankford Events Center. The land was cleared in 2016 and discussions were ongoing on how to save money to put together the new facility at the former Lankford Motor Co. property, but even cuts to costs couldn’t bring down excessive bids, and the events center has been tabled for the time being.

Visitors bringing Cedartown to small screen, more

Of all the big news coming out of Cedartown this year, the role it plays on the small screen in the coming year was probably one of the biggest stories for the city.

A good portion of “Hap and Leonard” Season 3 — debuting in Spring 2018 — was filmed right here in Polk County on Main Street and in other locations as Cedartown was transformed for a few months into Grovetown, Texas during the holiday season of 1989.

The several days of filming in Cedartown has prompted the City Commission to look at drafting and implementing a film ordinance, with the hopes that by standardizing contracts for use of spaces within the city they’ll attract more productions to use the area in the years ahead.

The film crews weren’t the only ones to make a stop in Cedartown of note. A number of people were forced to layover in Cedartown and Rockmart during evacuations for Hurricane Maria during the late summer weeks, and those the Standard Journal interviewed at the time from Florida and coastal Georgia returned home with only minor damage.

The city also got visits from travel writers thanks to the Georgia Department of Tourism, Welcome Center directors from around the state, and tours of One Door Polk by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Looking ahead

City residents have much to look forward to in the year ahead. Fann said the city will face challenges, but that with those come a renewal by officials to overcome the odds and make a difference. One top priority on his list: continue to encourage and attract new business.

“We of course want to get more activity going,” Fann said. “So we’re going to spend more time on not just industrial recruitment, but retail recruitment as well. We’re trying to be more effective with that in the coming year.”

Fann said too that it is his hopes to get grant money to be able to start at least on the first phase of a soccer complex at Goodyear Park.

“We’d like to get a least part of that done this coming year,” Fann said.