Town of Canton
Adorned with quaint homes and tree-lined streets, the Town of Canton lies on the banks of the Pigeon River in the mountains of southwestern North Carolina. It is the home of Blue Ridge Papers, the largest industry in Haywood County. The town administers several recreational programs for its residents and visitors. Activities include the annual Labor Day celebration, a festival of lights during the Christmas season and Pickin’ in the Park, an outdoor summer event that showcases local country and bluegrass musicians. The town’s Labor Day celebration is the oldest in the South.
Community IssuesHurricanes Ivan and Francis battered Canton in 2004, causing approximately $9.2 million in damage to municipal infrastructure and facilities. Flooding also destroyed a number of residences and businesses, including a restaurant, service station and newly renovated theater. Though the town has rebuilt its town hall, fire department, museum and armory, much work remains to be done.
During the past three years, 129 businesses closed or left the town, resulting in the loss of nearly 370 jobs. Haywood County’s unemployment rate stood at 11.1 percent in March.
Canton is focusing on repairing and improving infrastructure to accommodate new growth. It is investigating the restoration and reuse of downtown buildings, boosting tourism-related efforts and recruiting small firms for its industrial park.
Patrick U. Smathers, Mayor