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McDonough: A Small Town In The Middle of A Big City; Former Councilman Benjamin Pruitt Reflects


City of McDonough ever since I've been here on council. I was just hoping that I would be around to celebrate your birthday. So happy 200.- Councilman Ben Pruitt 

written by Shawn Raleigh

Former Mayor Pro TEM, Councilman Ben Pruitt is no stranger around City Hall . He served on the council of the city of McDonough for eight years and spent two of the years as chair of the Planning Commission before serving his tenure in the council seat. Setting his focus to help the community with a passion of placing policy over politics while ensuring all of McDonough, every citizen in McDonough had a voice at City Hall.

Pruitt is not a native of McDonough but found McDonough to be home after meeting his wife who is originally from here. She grew up here and that's how he ended up here chasing the love of his life almost 20 years ago. For her, growing up in a small town of McDonough, especially back then and still in some ways feels like a small town in the middle of a big city.

Pruitt remembers 20 years ago, there were a lot of aspects that kind of felt like home, you could drive and see farms in McDonough with the convenience of the city close by. The square closed down at five o'clock, it was almost like they rolled the sidewalks up at night. "It's been really fun over the last 10 years trying to help make sure we had the right zoning and the right codes to help businesses thrive on the square. It's been wonderful watching businesses on the square succeed." says Councilman Pruitt.

Developing a government that makes sure we are making it easy for businesses to thrive, not only survive but thrive and then, staying out of the way and allowing businesses to operate efficiently. Sometimes the government can get a little too caught up in wanting to control every little aspect of what a business does, but at the end of the day, they're the experts and the business owners know how to do it, how to run their own business and it's up to us to support them not micro manage.

Now that square doesn't shut down at five o'clock anymore, it's a hangout and being a hangout in the square, a few of the things council did was make sure we created an entertainment district. In some aspects that went along with that was making sure that we were as supportive as we could be with the businesses to continue to do business at night and the entertainment district part of it was really big improving a couple of the zoning ordinances allowing businesses to operate in a specific way that some of our outdated codes didn't allow. Under the outdated codes, many of the old policies were preventing the city from birthing into what it has blossomed into today.

McDonough is growing and continues to grow as we've seen over the last few years, Pruitt has seen this personally over the last 20 years, feeling everyone sees that McDonough is such a great place to be and people want to be here. The city has to be so intentional about making sure we are focusing on quality development. From the standpoint of the council, we would do everyone a disservice to walk in and say, ok no more development, let's stop.

We don't want to keep things the way they are if we did, we would have a development that would still have to develop, and it wouldn't work. We have to make sure that we have a good vision for the city, that we understand how local zoning ordinances work along with state laws and make sure that we are preparing for that growth. The Atlanta Regional Commission projects that over the next 20 years, The City of McDonough is going to see a huge increase in population just because people want to be here.

Pruitt reflected on the annual Geranium Festival, sponsored by the Lions Club, and the impact and revenue it brings to the city yearly attracting people from all over Georgia, parts of Florida, Alabama and South Carolina to the city and gather in the square to celebrate this event! The Lions Club does a great job hosting The Geranium Festival and the City is grateful for the hard work that they put into it over the years. Literally, people are working through the entire night preparing for the occasion and It's pretty spectacular. This is what makes McDonough Great!

Councilman Ben Pruitt Speaks On Reflecting Forward

Get Your Copy of The Collectors Edition: Reflection Forward: City of McDonough Celebrating 200 Years

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