Opinion: Grant should benefit community in more diverse way, Canton resident says
Thursday, November 29, 2018 - 7:21 am

In response to the Village of Canton’s plan to seek a $270,000 grant to rebuild Dairy Queen: As a business owner in downtown Canton, I support the Economic Development process and the benefits it provides to local businesses in our community.

As a business owner I also appreciate what is involved in the day-to-day operations of owning a business in the Village of Canton. I love Canton. I live here. My children have attended Canton schools. My children have attended St. Lawrence University. I have sat on the Canton Chamber board for over 8 years.

I am vested in this community economically and socially. I made the decision to buy a commercial property and move my two business operations to downtown Canton. I support our community and want to see it grow and prosper.

When I decided to open my business in downtown Canton, I visited the Canton Economic Development office and town offices to let them know of my plans. Everyone was excited and supportive verbally.

That was the extent of their involvement of getting the business approved and up and running. The surrounding small businesses were a blessing and my support system. They stopped by regularly during our renovations of the building and offered advice and assistance in getting the place up and running. Mr. Dalton was a blessing when he stepped in to get the building permit issued and I am so grateful!

The town and village officer’s only stopped by after we were open to congratulate us. Not one offer of assistance or help was offered by the town or Village of Canton for grants, programs or small business assistance.

Insurance is an important part of running a business. Our biggest expenses are insurance and employees. As a business owner it is my responsibility to ensure that we are protected should an unfortunate event occur.

If my building or business were to have an occurrence such as the one that Dairy Queen recently experienced, would the town and village be at my door to assist. I hope so. Would I expect them to cover all of the cost to rebuild? No I would not.

There is now plenty of variety in downtown Canton to support food options. We have a Mexican eatery, pizza, burgers and salad bar, bagels, ice cream, potato bar and fast food burgers.

Are these eateries less important than a Dairy Queen? Would the town and village get grants to completely replace these eateries should an unfortunate event occur?

If such large grants are available, shouldn’t they be utilized to benefit the community in a more diverse way?

Our community is in need of so much more than spending this amount of grant money on a business that should have had insurance in place. I support assisting this business in re-establishing itself but am a bit confused over the amount of responsibility the owner’s should bear as a business owner.

I am sorry if this letter offends anyone. If the grant should go through, I will be happy for those involved. However, we need to focus on spending money in areas that will make Canton an economic destination place.

Elizabeth Pier