Up Close with City of Grayson
By J. Rice
Grayson's mayor, Allison Wilkerson, has had a front row seat to its development all of her life. Her father, Doug Wilkerson, was mayor from 1994 to 2001, and Allison, born and raised in Grayson, began serving on City Council in 2002, and took office as Mayor in 2014. Now the boutique city is experiencing a growth spurt.
Construction is well underway for Grayson's long-anticipated amphitheater project on Grayson Parkway. "We're very excited about our Ampavillion that will be completed by mid-October," says Wilkerson. (An ampavillion is an outdoor amphitheater that is flanked on both sides by pavilions.) "The ampavillion will be the new home to Grayson Day entertainment, Gimme Shelter, Blues and Brews, Christmas in Grayson, and a future concert series. The project also includes a restroom/storage building."
Mayor Wilkerson was instrumental in pushing the plans forward, but even bigger projects lie ahead. Grayson's 2040 Comprehensive Plan is taking shape with input from the town's citizens. According to the Get into Grayson Facebook page, the 2040 plan will provide a working blueprint to guide growth and development for the next twenty-two years.
“We are excited about the community involvement that this has generated," says Wilkerson. "We have a strong steering committee that is putting it into action, and we have held a community listening session. There is a survey that is available for people who live in Grayson." The survey can be accessed through the website cityofgrayson.org.
Mayor Wilkerson stresses that having the right team in place is the key to the success of Grayson. She just welcomed a new Public Works Director to her team at City Hall. "We hired Dan Pruehs to join TEAM GRAYSON," she states. "He and his wife Krista live in Grayson with their two boys. Dan comes to us from the City of Auburn, where he served as their Parks and Leisure Services Director. September 10th will be his first day, and we're very excited to have him join us!"
And what does the future look like for Grayson? Mayor Wilkerson sees more growth and improvement ahead. She's been pleased with the railyard development and all the businesses it has been attracting. She'd like to see a strong entrepreneurial presence continue to grow and develop, enough that Grayson residents will find all they need in the city proper without having to travel to neighboring communities. "Commercial, retail, and restaurant businesses are needed to help make Grayson the best it can possibly be," she says. "We could also benefit greatly from additional medical facilities to serve our residents."
In its more immediate future, Grayson has a full roster of community events planned for the fall. "We have several awesome events coming up in our park!" says Wilkerson. On September 9th from 12:30 – 3:30 p.m., NG3 is sponsoring Taste of Grayson in the park with more than twenty restaurants. Next, on September 22nd from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. is the Love Thy Neighbor Car Show benefiting Madeline McNeely. Those interested in entering a car should visit the Love Thy Neighbor Facebook page.
The 9th annual Blues and Brews Craft Beer Festival sponsored by Precision Planning, Inc. is on October 20th. Tinsley Ellis will be performing and Slow Pour Brewery out of Lawrenceville is the featured beer. Tickets can be purchased at City Hall, the Beverage Superstore, Johnny’s Pizza, Joe’s All-American Grill, and at grayson-bluesandbrews.com. On November 3rd the Greater Eastside Chamber of Commerce will host the annual Hot Tamale Chili Cook Off. Visit the GECC website for info regarding how to participate.
"And our Christmas in Grayson event is Sunday, December 2nd from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.," the Mayor adds. "This is a free event in the park with pony rides, petting zoo, crafts, music, and, of course, Santa!"
More information at CityOfGrayson.org