In this town, there’s a lot of talk about chickens and eggs. People will move downtown when there are services. Or the services will come if the people are there.

What comes first, the chicken or the egg? How does downtown Canton become a truly revitalized urban center?

The truth is, much of the groundwork has been in place for the last decade or so. The wheels have been turning and much new life has been steadily building downtown in so many ways — ArtsinStark. Canton Development Partnership. First Fridays. Buzzbin. Basil. Market Square. Food tours. Coffee shops. Light posts. Music. Picnic tables. Storefronts. Housing. Bike lanes. Energy. Problems remain, no doubt. There is more work to be done.

But in my eyes, the only thing that slows the process is the perception of those right here within our own community. Wait, read that again. The one thing that’s holding us back is the very thing that can truly propel us forward.

This downtown movement began because there were enough people who weren’t afraid to start rattling the cages and crack a few eggs to make things happen.

We’re featuring a handful of them in this Movers & Shakers issue as a way to shine light on the efforts being made across the community to make a difference. This is the fifth year that About has named and highlighted Movers & Shakers from throughout Stark County, but it’s the first year that we’ve focused solely on downtown folks.

We selected the final 10 to be featured with the help of our advisory board. From business owners to developers to preservationists, each are community servants looking for ways to make our community stronger. We applaud their efforts, as well as the many working behind the scenes. Continuing with the downtown theme this issue, you’ll also find spotlights on some of the most happening lunch spots in the city. We realized there’s quite a lot of great spots once we started taking notes.

Funny, the same can be said about a lot of things that are going on in the city right now. We’ll get there, Canton, I can feel it.

Who’s ready to pluck some chickens?

Darla A. Brown

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Darla Brown

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