North Canton Master Plan - 2022

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MASTER PLAN JANUARY 2022



CONTENTS 1.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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2.

PROCESS

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3.

BACKGROUND

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4.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

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5.

MASTER PLAN RECOMMENDATIONS Business-friendly Community 8 Vibrant Downtown Core 14 University District Connections 36 Residential Neighborhoods 42 Citywide Broadband 50

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Implementation

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Acknowledgments

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1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY North Canton, Ohio is a safe, family-friendly community with excellent schools and city services. The city’s Master Plan is aimed at attracting new businesses and residents. North Canton last completed a Master Plan in 2012. The city also prepared a University District Plan in 2016 and a Parks Expansion Plan in 2018. Some of the recommendations from these plans have been or are being implemented. But market conditions are changing and an updated Master Plan is needed to tie previous planning efforts together, address gaps in these plans, and establish actionable recommendations. Based on a community survey in 2019, most residents are pleased with the overall direction of the city and are planning to stay. Through a series of interviews and meetings during the master planning process, community members identified five priorities for the city’s future: 1.

Cultivate a Business-friendly Community for job creation and economic growth.

3. Link the University District to Downtown with strategies for expanding the impact of Walsh University deeper into the surrounding community and making stronger connections between the Walsh Campus and Main Street. 4. Strengthen Residential Neighborhoods through housing rehabilitation and new construction to support the needs of existing residents as they age in place, attract young professionals and families, and create intergenerational neighborhoods where young adults can live near their parents and grandparents. 5. Explore Citywide Broadband for business development, downtown vibrancy, university connections, and attracting younger home buyers to city neighborhoods. Detailed recommendations and action steps for each of these priorities are described in this plan.

2. Build a Vibrant Downtown Core with a vision for Main Street as a destination, with opportunities for business development, parking, public space, and beautification.

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2. PROCESS The Master Planning process took place in three phases. In the first phase, the CUDC worked with the city to collect and analyze data on existing conditions, and to understand recent planning and development efforts. This phase included interviewing 16 community stakeholders, meeting with the master plan steering committee, and facilitating a community conversation to understand local priorities and concerns. The CUDC also explored ideas and best practices from other communities that could be translated to conditions in North Canton. In the second phase, the Steering Committee and the CUDC developed initial ideas and alternatives in response to community input in the first phase. These alternatives were discussed and revised in a community workshop, with initial conversations about priorities for implementation. In the third phase, these community priorities were summarized in a draft master plan document, which was reviewed and refined

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by the Steering Committee and city officials. The master plan will then be presented to the community during an open house where strategies and priorities for implementation will be discussed. Next, the city will adopt the master plan and begin work on implementation. One year after adoption, the CUDC will return to North Canton to discuss implementation efforts, any new developments that have impacted the planning recommendations, and any course corrections that are needed in response to emerging circumstances.


2021/2022 TIMELINE for the planning process

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3. BACKGROUND North Canton, Ohio is a safe, stable, familyfriendly community with excellent schools and city services. Not rapidly growing or declining, North Canton’s population (per the 2020 Census) is remarkably stable. The city’s population in 2020 was 17,842, as compared to the 2010 population of 17,488.

and establish a business; and reinforcing the character of the historic downtown area as a regional destination. •

Corridors and Connections: connecting the city’s unique natural and cultural assets in ways that enhance the city as a whole, improve access to key destinations, and make the city a more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly place.

Development sites: identifying potential development uses for vacant and underutilized properties in the city and establishing development guidelines to ensure that any new construction is in keeping with community priorities, values, and preferences.

An annual community survey underscores the city’s stability. Per the 2021 community survey: •

84% of North Canton residents feel the quality of life in the city has stayed the same or gotten better.

78% of respondents said they plan to stay in North Canton for the next five years.

This stability creates a strong sense of community identity. At the same time, community members recognize that some changes are underway. Overall, the city’s population is aging. Almost 23% of North Canton residents are 65 and older. The city recognizes the need to attract younger families through investments in the school system and the construction of new housing to attract younger buyers. Given that longtime residents tend to be deeply attached to the community, it is important to also consider housing types that appeal to empty nesters, as well as an expansion of programs to support seniors as they age in place. North Canton last created a citywide master plan in 2012. The plan recommended community reinvestment in three major categories: •

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Identity: promoting the identity of the city as a good place to live, work, visit,

North Canton updated its Zoning Code in 2020, with a focus on Main Street, North Canton’s Corridor of Opportunity. The updated code establishes new zoning districts for the five unique segments of the Main Street Corridor. • • • • •

Main Street North Gateway Main Street North Main Street Center Main Street South Main Street South Gateway

The Master Plan focuses primarily on the Main Street Center District, to build on the existing character of this area by making it more walkable and establishing a critical mass of restaurants, shops, and community gathering places. Land banking efforts can be deployed throughout the entire Main Street corridor, with a focused effort to acquire available properties in the business district between Everhard Road and Orion Street.


A University District Plan was completed in 2016. Walsh University is currently working on a campus master plan. A Parks Expansion Plan was completed in 2018, with detailed recommendations for investments in the city’s park system, including the addition of a fully accessible playground at Dogwood Park. Many of the recommendations from these earlier plans have been or are being implemented. But market conditions are changing and this updated master plan aims to tie previous planning efforts together, address gaps in these plans, and establish actionable recommendations that align with the guiding principles on the next page.

UPDATED ZONING for Main Street Center District (Source: ZoneCo)

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4. GUIDING PRINCIPLES

1. Build on what’s working North Canton has a well-known identity as a safe community with excellent schools and well-maintained parks, streets, and infrastructure. Walsh University - University District, updated zoning and maintenance codes.

4. To create a walkable destination for North Canton residents, employees, and visitors.

2. Cultivate a business-friendly community to increase the number of small businesses along the Corridor of Opportunity and expand the density of jobs in the city.

6. Better connect the University District to the downtown area to leverage the impact of Walsh University as a community asset and anchor.

3. Focus attention on on the central segment of Main Street between Charlotte and Bechtel.

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5. Encourage and guide the development of the Hoover District, especially the west factory building which will have a significant impact on the vitality of the downtown district.

7. Pursue land banking with a purpose, targeting sites for acquisition and development that create jobs and expand housing options in the city.


8. Attract young professionals and families to North Canton. Promote housing rehabilitation and infill housing to strengthen the city’s neighborhoods and attract new residents. North Canton is an excellent community to age in place. Celebrate and reinforce this through programs that support longtime residents and value their commitment to the city. Outreach and targeted marketing efforts to encourage adult children of existing residents to rediscover the city and move back to North Canton with their own children.

9. Encourage active and healthy lifestyles through the city’s park system, connections to Stark Parks and regional trail networks, and a walkable downtown district. 10. Focus on diversity, inclusion and accessibility—a vision of North Canton as a community for all ages and abilities.

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Recommendation 1 BUSINESS-FRIENDLY COMMUNITY

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North Canton has a strong and well-established brand. Businesses want to locate in the city, although they sometimes end up in the surrounding townships where land is more readily available for development and regulations may be less stringent. North Canton has a lot to offer prospective businesses: well-maintained infrastructure, excellent municipal services, and reliable safety forces--all things that entrepreneurs look for when determining where to locate their businesses. In addition, North Canton has a well-regarded school system and many parks and recreational opportunities. Business owners realize that in order for their company to be successful, they need to be located in a community where current and future workers will want to work, live, and raise their families. North Canton fits the bill on all counts.

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LAND BANKING WITH A PURPOSE North Canton’s Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) is established under Ohio Revised Code for the purpose of advancing, encouraging, and promoting the industrial, economic, commercial, and civic development of North Canton. The CIC has pursued these goals through low interest loans, equipment leases, land acquisition and assemblage, and land banking. North Canton is landlocked and does not have many sites big enough for commercial development. However, the city has an effective land banking process that identifies and assembles land for future development. To date, the city has purchased $10 million in land and buildings along Main Street, including the 31-acre site at 1447 North Main Street, the former Kmart location. A citywide approach to land bank planning can be integrated with the recommendations from this master plan to advance the city’s longterm strategic vision. Two specific priorities for land banking in North Canton include: 1.

Acquiring vacant commercial properties for business development.

2. Acquiring and assembling vacant and underutilized residential properties to create opportunities for new housing development in the city that responds to the needs and preferences of contemporary home buyers.

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The land bank enables the city to acquire vacant land and market it to individuals, developers, and non-profit organizations for redevelopment. The redevelopment of properties in the land bank will contribute to the economic, social, and environmental betterment of the city. Through the land bank, vacant property is transferred to parties committed to restoring property to productive use. Funding Sources Financing of land bank property acquisition is done primarily through general fund monies and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. The strategic sale of some parcels in the land bank to private sector partners could generate revenue for additional real estate purchases.


EXPANDED SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES Since the closure of the Hoover Factory in 2007, North Canton has attracted other large employers to its commercial districts, including Diebold Nixdorf which is moving its research and development, engineering, manufacturing, logistics and supply chain teams to the Hoover District. Large companies provide tax revenue and employment opportunities in North Canton. Small businesses are also critical to economic development efforts in the city, and multiple smaller enterprises can have impacts that are comparable to one or two large businesses. Small businesses often need support in their early years. Although North Canton has made progress in streamlining its zoning and review processes, a perception remains that the city is a difficult place to open a business. By demonstrating a willingness to cut through red tape and assist on things like the pre-permitting of development sites, the city can change this perception. The city could create a small task force to review existing regulations from the perspective of business owners and identify ways to make the approval process more flexible and streamlined. The goal would be to keep the city safe and orderly without inhibiting business growth. The city could also expand its public relations efforts to spread the word on behalf of new businesses coming to town. In the most recent citywide survey, many respondents noted that the city’s communications efforts could be improved. This shows that residents are highly engaged and eager to know about what’s going on in the community. A focus

on outreach efforts, through print and social media, would help new businesses succeed while also addressing the needs of residents to know more about what’s happening locally. North Canton’s economic development strategy can build on what’s already working, including the popular and successful 720 Market and North Canton Farmers Market. •

720 Market is a curated, special event openair market held at various venues in and around North Canton. 720 Market offers a fun and fresh opportunity for residents to shop local, and for small businesses to gain visibility and sell their products.

North Canton Farmers Market offers year-round access to a wide range of locally created farm products, baked & preserved goods, crafts, and pet/home/ personal care items. It was launched in 2020. Despite the challenges of operating during the pandemic, the Farmers Market was embraced by the community and attracts over 500 shoppers each week.

Home-based businesses offer another opportunity for economic development in the city. A survey of home-based entrepreneurs would give the city some insights into the range of small start-ups operating out of people’s homes and garages. The survey could also identify any challenges that home-based businesses are facing that limit their ability to grow. And it could create a database of local entrepreneurs that could be used for outreach and to connect business owners with each other, building a sense of community.

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Eventually, some home-based businesses could grow into the need for a storefront space or a freestanding commercial building in the Main Street corridor. The city could support home-based businesses in their growth by offering support along the following path: •

Incubate new businesses in 720 Market and the North Canton Farmers Market.

Create pop up spaces for growing businesses in vacant storefronts on Main Street and in the Hoover District.

Once a business is successful in a pop up space, expand into freestanding permanent businesses.

Ensure that building and zoning codes allow businesses to combine storefront presence with internet sales, and onsite small-scale manufacturing.

To cultivate a business-friendly community, the city can devote resources to helping companies find the best land or building available, or to work with them to ensure a new facility can be built to meet their needs. An online inventory of every commercial property in the Main Street Corridor of Opportunity would be a useful tool for businesses looking to locate in the city. The inventory could include:

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• •

Address of every commercial property Property owner name and contact information

Whether the property is vacant, partially vacant, or fully occupied

Square footage, configuration and floor plan of the building, and a site plan, if available

Key attributes such as grease traps, hoods, and patios for restaurants and cafes

List of tenant-ready space, identifying locations where someone could open a business in the next 90 days

List of large vacant spaces that could be marketable to multiple tenants or small manufacturers with retail components

Funding Sources Consider allocating annual funding ($50,000 per year) for Community Improvement Corporation initiatives and activities, which could include signage and facade improvement programs and strategic land assembly. Pursue funding from US Economic Development Agency’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance program for entrepreneurship programs and public works projects that help to create jobs. EDA funding provides flexible support for community-led economic development. EDA proposals are accepted on a rolling basis, though the agency recommends submitting a proposal no later than March of 2022. Grants between $100,000 to $10 million will be awarded with a 20% local match.


ACTION STEPS FOR CULTIVATING A BUSINESS-FRIENDLY COMMUNITY LAND BANKING WITH A PURPOSE • Target land banking efforts toward vacant properties adjacent to the city, including eight or nine acres on the western edge along Whipple and Wise Avenues. If acquired, these properties could be annexed into the city for future development. SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT • Create a guide for new businesses that highlights fees and deadlines. • Develop a mentor network to help new business owners connect with owners of longstanding businesses. • Maintain a cumulative list of potential prospects. It can take up to five years from developing a concept to opening a business. Periodic messages to prospects will make them feel welcome while keeping North Canton top of mind. • Conduct workshops for small businesses where business owners and city officials can discuss zoning and building code regulations, and the city can learn about and address any problems or frustrations business owners are experiencing. • Assist North Canton Farmers’ Market in finding a permanent home, preferably in the Hoover District where the energy of the weekly market can draw people from throughout the city and beyond. • Create signage and facade improvement grants or low-interest loans to increase the curb appeal of Main Street businesses; and also offer design guidance for sprucing up back entries, since many people enter these businesses from rear parking lots. • Conduct a survey of home-based businesses to better understand their needs and as the basis for on-going engagement with these entrepreneurs. • Develop and maintain a Commercial Property Inventory.

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Recommendation 2 VIBRANT DOWNTOWN CORE

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Throughout the master planning process, community members expressed interest in building up the downtown core as a lively place for people to socialize and enjoy, including destination restaurants and convenient places to shop. There is a strong interest in creating petfriendly outdoor venues that take advantage of the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA). Other priorities for the downtown core include: • Making the area more pedestrian friendly • Creating additional green spaces • Implementing plans for the Hoover District • Developing a parking and wayfinding strategy • Identifying new opportunities for downtown housing

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IMPROVE WALKABILITY For example, the YMCA attracts 2,000-3,000 people per day who could be customers for Main Street businesses if they felt more comfortable walking around and lingering in the area.

According to recent research from the Brookings Institution, walkable commercial districts tend to be more economically successful, with higher commercial rents and more successful retail businesses. North Canton has many distinctive local businesses, but they are spread across a wide area, rather than concentrated in the central Main Street district. Walkability offers many benefits. Residents of walkable neighborhoods tend to be healthier, both physically and mentally. Walkable destinations lead to less traffic and air pollution. Research from the real estate company RedFin shows that walkable neighborhoods have higher home values. The speed of traffic on Main Street inhibits walking in the downtown area. Most people drive to their destinations, park in rear lots, and have little presence or activity along the street. Traffic speeds also discourage people from walking between businesses and destinations on both sides of the street.

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Walk Score® is a tool for measuring the walkability of a neighborhood. For any address or district, Walk Score® analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities. Points are awarded based on the distance to amenities in each category. Amenities within a 5-minute walk (.25 miles) are given maximum points. Lower point ratings are given for more distant amenities, with no points given after a 30-minute walk. Walk Score® also measures pedestrian friendliness by analyzing population density, the length of blocks, and intersection conditions. Communities are rated from 0-100 for their walkability. The overall Walk Score® for North Canton as a whole is 37, which is not very walkable. The downtown area scores much higher at 67, indicating that this part of the city is somewhat walkable and a good starting point for creating a place where residents and visitors feel comfortable on foot.


PARKLET Freewheel Parklet, San Francisco. Source: Mark Hogan By Mark Hogan. By Mark Hogan https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17841324

Investments in pedestrian infrastructure, including more prominent crosswalks and streetlights that are timed for pedestrian traffic could boost walkability in the downtown district. Sidewalk cafes would also enhance walkability by bringing pedestrian activity out to the fronts of buildings. The city could also consider a pilot project to create a parklet along Main Street in the downtown core. A parklet is a small seating area or green space created as a public amenity, built within the right-of-way. Parklets have been deployed in cities around the country and became much more popular during the pandemic when there was increased demand for outside dining. Parklets are often constructed in roadside parking spaces. Since parking is not allowed on Main Street, a parklet pilot project would require the temporary closure of a lane of traffic.

The parklet would need to be designed with a structure edge, such as a low wall of jersey barriers, to protect people in the parklet from vehicular traffic. Parklets often feature planters with tall shrubs to create a sense of enclosure and shield visitors from traffic noise. Parklets function as a traffic calming measure, helping to slow down vehicular traffic to posted speed limits. Parklets also create a fun alternative to indoor dining and have become increasingly popular, even in cooler weather. Although there may be concerns about building a dining area and public space in the street right-of-way, it’s important to note that some of the busiest cities in the country have successfully implemented parklet projects before and during the pandemic. Many of these parklets are expected to become permanent since they are popular with residents and help to boost sales for restaurants and cafes. Master Plan City of North Canton

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DOWNTOWN AS DESTINATION Residents have noted that the downtown area does not currently function as a destination. It is missing music and nightlife, public art, galleries, and performances. The Hoover District, discussed in the next section, will be a major downtown destination and anchor. But since the development process for the Hoover District has been slow to progress, there are other strategies to increase activity levels downtown. A first step would be to focus on businesses that encourage people to linger downtown, ideally for 30 minutes or more. Coffee shops, restaurants, and nightlife destinations are among the best options for downtown vitality. Small, regional grocers and specialty food shops, home and garden stores, and building supply retailers are reporting their best sales numbers ever in many national markets and will be looking to grow. The recently established Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) will support downtown businesses with increased foot traffic. Patrons 21 and over may purchase alcoholic beverages from approved restaurants and carry their drinks outside and within the DORA boundaries. Outdoor seating will create a welcoming atmosphere within the downtown and the DORA will help to attract additional restaurants, cafes, and bars to the area. Currently, there are very few establishments where patrons can enjoy outdoor dining, drinking, and socializing. Sidewalk cafes, the Hoover Lawn, and Bitzer Park could provide areas for these activities to take place. By focusing efforts on a small area from Bechtel to Charlotte Street, the city can begin to create an appealing, walkable hub of activity where people of all ages and backgrounds can gather and be connected to community amenities and economic opportunities. Public art and

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gateway features can create a sense of arrival in the downtown core. The first step to making the downtown area feel like a destination is to establish a critical mass of businesses and amenities in a compact and walkable area. The energy from this core district can be expanded to encompass more of the Main Street corridor over time. A guide to local businesses and a marketing campaign could focus on businesses in the downtown core and also highlight businesses elsewhere along Main Street. The millennial generation is currently the largest consumer base in the United States. Millennials are often willing to spend money on gyms, boutique fitness concepts, salons, and personal care retail offerings. Retail follows rooftops and daytime traffic. Getting more residents and employers in and around the downtown area will help attract retailers looking to open a new location downtown. Downtown needs a destination restaurant. A craft brewery or a fine dining establishment would be a good fit for the Hoover District, where the historic architecture and iconic smokestack create an interesting and authentic experience, a place that is unique to North Canton. While the development of the Hoover District takes shape, another option is the potential reuse of the current fire station building, if the fire station and police station are relocated to a new shared facility. The wide sidewalk in front of the fire station and the overhead doors could allow for indoor/outdoor dining. Interior spaces would need to be extensively renovated for a dining experience, with the addition of a commercial kitchen. This might be a complicated conversion, but since the city owns the property, it could provide the real estate as an incentive for a creative restaurateur.


LEFT Existing North Canton Fire Station BELOW Fire Station reimagined as a destination restaurant (Tullius Art & Design)

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GATEWAY Proposed gateway design for entry points into Downtown North Canton (Tullius Art and Design)

DOWNTOWN EVENTS North Canton Salesman Parade circa 1921 (North Canton Heritage Society) and North Canton Chocolate Walk

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EVENTS AND PROGRAMS Four-season events and programming will draw people to the downtown area to enhance vitality and support local businesses. City residents have a well-established history of supporting festivals, parades, and other events. The success of the annual Main Street Festival and other events like Alive After Five, the Craft Beer Festival, and the North Canton Chocolate Walk, demonstrate a substantial audience for civic programming. Additional programming, including events that target a younger audience, is likely to be well-received. Expanding programming to encompass all four-seasons would draw foot traffic to support downtown businesses. This is especially important in the holiday shopping season, and in the post-holiday winter months when business tends to be slow. Lighting displays and special promotions, such as a ‘shop local’ week in January or February would help support local businesses during the post-Christmas winter season. Since North Canton was originally known as New Berlin, an annual Oktoberfest would celebrate the city’s heritage. This could include a beer-garden at Hoover Plaza, family-friendly activities, and musical performances. It takes time and energy to organize a yearround series of events. The city and the Chamber of Commerce could consider establishing a new position for a marketing and events coordinator to activate and promote the downtown district. The coordinator could work with local business owners and the North Canton Rotary to find sponsorships and volunteers to make these events happen. The city already employs many student interns from Walsh University. Walsh interns would be especially valuable in planning events that appeal to younger people and amplifying the city’s presence on social media.

Funding Sources Special Improvement District - A Special Improvement District (SID) is a physical area, established by the Ohio Revised Code, in which property owners elect to pay an additional assessment in order to fund public improvements and services that benefit the district. Services must be for the public good and may include maintenance, physical improvements, and community programming. The services are chosen by the property owners themselves, through a Board of Directors, and cannot replace city services. Establishing a SID requires the approval of owners representing 60% of the front footage or 75% of the land area of the district, who must sign a formal petition to establish it. As such, the establishment of a SID might have to wait until there is more of a critical mass of participating businesses in the downtown core. Ohio Arts Council - The OAC makes annual grants to communities for arts programming and installation. Grants typically range from $5,000 to $20,000 with a 50/50 matching requirement. National Endowment for the Arts OurTown Program - Our Town is the National Endowment for the Arts’ creative placemaking grants program. Grants support projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. Successful Our Town projects ultimately lay the groundwork for systems changes that sustain the integration of arts, culture, and design into local strategies for strengthening communities. These projects require a partnership between the city and a nonprofit cultural organization. Grants range from $25,000 to $150,000, with a 50/50 matching requirement.

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HOOVER DISTRICT The Hoover District will combine office space, rental housing, retail, and public space in a visually prominent and historically significant building complex in the heart of downtown. The Hoover District development will anchor the downtown district and enable many of the other community priorities for the downtown area to happen. At community meetings, residents expressed strong support for maintaining the authentic character of the city. Given the long history of the Hoover Company in North Canton and the distinctive architecture of the factory buildings, the Hoover complex embodies this authenticity. Investment in the adaptive reuse of the Hoover buildings, especially the west factory which has the most immediate impact on Main Street, should remain a high priority. Housing development is an important part of the plan for the Hoover District, although progress has been slow and the west factory building poses some challenges to residential reuse, including window heights that limit views from inside the building and projected rehabilitation costs that exceed the anticipated market rate rents. If these challenges can be addressed, the location and the architectural character of the Hoover complex are likely to attract young professionals interested in living in a mixed-use urban environment. Housing at Hoover could also attract older empty nesters who want to live close to shops, restaurants, the YMCA, and other downtown amenities. A mix of smaller, more affordable units for younger residents and fully accessible units that enable people to age in place would result in an intergenerational living experience.

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The city might be able to use its maintenance codes and laws regulating vacant properties for leverage with the developer to get the project moving faster. Code enforcement is necessary to stabilize the building and make it weather-tight. Many of the windows are missing at the back of the west factory building, which exposes the interior to weatherrelated damage. The city is very effective at enforcing its codes and should cite code violations in the Hoover District to ensure that the building does not further deteriorate. Although it may take some time for the permanent development to take place, perhaps part of the facility can be stabilized and brought into code compliance to the point where a temporary occupancy permit could be issued for pop up shops, performances, and temporary interventions that help people rediscover the Hoover District. Temporary uses are also a useful strategy for testing the market potential of possible permanent uses and for bringing potential tenants into the space who might be interested in a future lease. If no parts of the buildings can be made code compliant for temporary uses, perhaps the developer would be willing to make minimal upgrades to the Hoover Lawn, to make this green space safe and accessible for events and short-term uses. Possibilities include: •

Outdoor festival on the lawn

Holiday tree lighting

Pop up croquet or miniature golf tournament

Beer and wine garden


HOOVER DISTRICT Development vision for the Hoover District (IRG | Industrial Realty Group. LLC)

There is strong public support for any actions that would get the project moving forward. In addition to possible activities on the lawn, perhaps the developer would be open to some low-risk, high-impact opportunities for public access. This might include a building tour or ‘Saturday Snoop’ where community members could have informal tours of the complex, interior and exterior as safety permits, to learn about what’s planned for the Hoover District and the challenges the development has faced.

Funding Sources •

Private capital

State and federal historic tax credits

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PUBLIC SPACE INVESTMENTS North Canton has an abundance of parks, including some green spaces in the downtown area. Bitzer Park is a beautiful little park that doesn’t get much use. It is perhaps too small for the types of programming residents would like to see. Some modest investments to the Hoover Lawn could help activate this space for public use. By adding a high visibility pedestrian crossing between the Hoover Lawn and Bitzer Park, these spaces could be linked and programmed together. Landscaping improvements to the small plaza in front of the YMCA on Main Street and streetscape improvements to Harmon Street and Park Circle, leading to Witwer Park would enable these separate green spaces to function as a linked system. Greening the edges of public parking lots in the downtown core and adding mid-block pedestrian rights-of-way between North Main Street and the new school would also enhance the sense of green space connectivity. Also, trees and wayfinding signage along Taft Avenue, north of East Maple Street, would create an appealing pedestrian route from the Hoover District to the high school and Dogwood Park. BITZER PARK an underutilized gem. MID-BLOCK CONNECTION Acorn Alley in Kent, an example of a mid-block connection.

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CHARLOTTE ROUNDABOUT

MID-BLOCK CONNECTIONS TEMPORARY USES FOR HOOVER LAWN

PEDESTRIAN CONNECTOR

GREENWAY TO HIGH SCHOOL & DOGWOOD PARK

GREENWAY TO N. MAIN ST.

UPGRADES TO YMCA PLAZA

GREENWAY CONNECTOR

DOWNTOWN PUBLIC SPACE FRAMEWORK Linking Bitzer Park with the Hoover Lawn and the plaza in front of the YMCA would create a connected green space that is large enough for public events and small enough for quieter moments. Additional streetscape linkages to Witwer Park and Dogwood Park, along with midblock connections from Main Street to the new school facility would tie the downtown district together.

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STRONGER CONNECTIONS between the Hoover Lawn and Bitzer Park/YMCA Plaza can be created through consistent landscaping and paving in public areas on both sides of Maple Avenue, along with a more visible crosswalk between the two spaces. 26


BITZER PARK + HOOVER LAWN together can become a pedestrian-friendly downtown destination.

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ROUNDABOUT A new roundabout will be constructed at the intersection of Portage and Charlotte to improve traffic circulation for the new school. The roundabout offers an opportunity to add greenery to the area, helping to tie new development into the existing neighborhood through landscape design. (Tullius Art and Design)

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DOWNTOWN PARKING STRATEGY Although there are many parking lots in the downtown area, it can be difficult to find parking and to know where public parking is available, especially for visitors and the large number of commuters who drive along Main Street every day without stopping to patronize local businesses. On-street parking in the downtown core between Charlotte Street and Bitzer Park would help to slow vehicular traffic to the posted speed limits. On-street parking also provides a buffer for pedestrians on public sidewalks and would make it safer to establish a temporary parklet pilot project in the right-of-way. On-street parking

could be tested for a few months to see how it works, before investing in permanent roadway changes. A traffic study might be needed before conducting an on-street parking test project. Better wayfinding signage is needed to direct people to available lots. The existing lots are behind the buildings and not clearly marked, especially for visitors. Entry points to public parking areas should be clearly marked and visible from the intersection Maple Avenue and Main Street. A cohesive signage and wayfinding project could direct people to parking areas and highlight local attractions.

WAYFINDING Concept for a cohesive downtown signage program (2012 North Canton Master Plan)

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PILOT PROJECT FOR ON-STREET PARKING

WAYFINDING SIGNAGE TO PUBLIC PARKING

PARKING A pilot project to allow on-street parking in the core downtown area could help to slow traffic on Main Street to posted speed limits while also making it easier for people to discover and access downtown businesses. Also, a wayfinding and signage strategy would direct visitors to available public parking lots.

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DOWNTOWN HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES North Canton is largely built out, with few opportunities for new housing development. Finding opportunities to introduce new housing types will help to attract new households. In addition to proposed housing for the Hoover District, the North Canton Middle School might propose another opportunity for downtown housing, if the school is relocated and the site becomes available. New housing on the middle school site would bring more people within walking distance of the downtown core, while providing prospective residents with a convenient and appealing housing alternative. The site is large enough to accommodate new housing models that complement adjacent single-family housing and take advantage of nearby green spaces, recreational amenities, and proximity to the core downtown area. New housing could include townhouses to attract younger buyers as well as a possible

co-housing community that could appeal to an intergenerational group of residents. Co-housing is an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space, which could work well in this location. A Request for Interest (RFI) process could be used to gauge interest from private sector developers and include guidelines and restrictions for the types of housing that could be developed in this location and existing features of the site to be preserved, including large and well-loved community garden near the middle school building. The RFI would outline an appropriate program, size, and site development framework for a sustainable, mixed use, development that could be developed through a public-private partnership, based on existing market analysis and zoning restrictions. Any new development should avoid disturbing If there is sufficient developer interest, the RFI could be followed by a more formal request for proposals.

Master Plan City of North Canton

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ABOVE Potential residential neighborhood on the current site of the North Canton Middle School. (Tullius Art and Design) LEFT North Canton Middle School site. (Google Earth)

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CO-HOUSING DEVELOPMENT A co-housing community, with individually owned units organized around shared green space and amenities, would offer new kind of housing option for North Canton residents. ABOVE - Chapeltown Cohousing in Leeds, UK (Source: Chapeltown Cohousing) RIGHT Petaluma Avenue Homes, an affordable cohousing community in Sebastopol, California (Source: Grist, grist.org)

Master Plan City of North Canton

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FUTURE DEVELOPMENT SITES

CHARLOTTE ROUNDABOUT

DIEBOLD NIXDORF

MID-BLOCK CONNECTIONS

PILOT PROJECT FOR ON-STREET PARKING TEMPORARY USES FOR HOOVER LAWN

GREENWAY TO HIGH SCHOOL & DOGWOOD PARK

SIGNAGE TO PUBLIC PARKING GREENWAY TO N. MAIN ST.

UPGRADES TO YMCA PLAZA

POSSIBLE CO-HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

POSSIBLE TOWNHOUSE DEVELOPMENT

DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK Public space and pedestrian improvements, infill commercial and residential development, and an improved parking strategy combine to create a vibrant downtown core.

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Action Steps for a Building a Vibrant Downtown Core Walkability • Conduct a walking audit in the downtown district to identify barriers to access and conditions that make pedestrians feel unsafe/ • Consider investments in pedestrian infrastructure, including more prominent crosswalks and streetlights that are timed for pedestrian traffic. • Conduct a traffic study to explore whether on-street parking could be accommodated along Main Street between Charlotte and Bechtel. • Consider developing a parklet pilot project in partnership with a downtown restaurant and/or Walsh University’s downtown facility. Downtown as Destination • Develop a guide to local businesses and a marketing campaign for the downtown district. • Conduct a preliminary analysis on the feasibility of converting the fire station building to a restaurant. • Hire a marketing and events coordinator, with a staff of Walsh University interns as youth advisors and social media specialists. Hoover District • Enforcement maintenance and vacant property codes to ensure the west factory building is weather-tight and protected from the elements. • Work with the developer on accessibility improvements to the Hoover lawn to enable public events and short-term installations to take place on the lawn. • Work with the developer to improve limited parts of the west factory building for temporary occupancy (i.e. hard hat building tours, pop up shops, performances) if possible. Public Space Investments • Develop a streetscape connectivity strategy for linking Bitzer Park and the Hoover Lawn, with an additional connection from Maple Avenue north to the high school stadium and Dogwood Park. Parking Strategy • Consider an on-street parking pilot project in the downtown area between Charlotte Street and Bitzer Park. • Hire a consultant to create a comprehensive signage package for the downtown district that directs people to public parking areas and highlights downtown amenities. Downtown Housing • If the existing middle school site becomes available, develop a request for interest process to define a housing development framework for the site and solicit interest from housing developers.

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Recommendation 3 UNIVERSITY DISTRICT CONNECTIONS

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Walsh University is a major employer and an important educational asset in the City of North Canton. The campus is largely self-contained and physically separated from Hoover District and downtown core by a short drive or long walk. Washington Square, directly across the street from the Walsh campus, has restaurants, a coffee shop, a bar, and a grocery store. With so much retail nearby, members of the university community have little need to visit the downtown area. In order to encourage students, faculty, and staff to go downtown there needs to be destination businesses people can’t find across the street and public programs that create a sense of excitement By linking the University District and Hoover District more tightly together, the downtown district will be enlivened by students, faculty, and staff. And the Walsh community will get to enjoy the amenities of a lively, historic downtown.

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PHYSICAL CONNECTIONS Complete the Maple Avenue Streetscape Connection Pedestrian lighting, signage, and a path are already in place along Maple Avenue heading west from the campus. But these streetscape enhancements stop before they reach downtown. Completing the connection between the university and the downtown area may encourage more people to make the walk, especially in nice weather when events are scheduled for downtown. Extending the streetscape enhancements between Taft and Marquardt would create some visual continuity and can be scaled down to fit in with the residential context between there streets. Giving the path a name (i.e. The Walsh Way) may lead to increased use. A bike share program with fixed stations (rather than a dockless system) will make it easier for people to travel between the campus and downtown. Maple Avenue does not appear to be wide enough to accommodate bike lanes, but a widened sidewalk could function as a multi-purpose path. MAPLE AVENUE Pedestrian lighting, crosswalks, banners, and other streetscape improvements stop before they reach the downtown area. A continuous streetscape along Maple Avenue from Walsh University to East Main Street would create a stringer visual connection. (Google Streetview)

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BIKE SHARE Potential bike share stations along Maple Avenue between Walsh University and downtown.

Intersection of East Maple and Main Street

Clearmount Elementary

Hoover Community Recreation Complex

Walsh University entrance

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PROGRAMMATIC CONNECTIONS Walsh University has an Institute for Community development in the heart of downtown. This space could be used to showcase some of the university’s public-facing programs, including

In addition to improving the physical connection, it would be useful to create more reasons for Walsh students to be downtown. A survey for students and other members of the university community would help to identify the kinds of businesses that would complement what is available at Washington Square to attract students to downtown. Also, meal plans for Walsh students include flex dollars that currently can be spent at a franchise pizza shop on Main Street. The flex funding program could be expanded to include more restaurants in the downtown area, including locally owned businesses, to provide an incentive for students to venture off campus for additional dining options.

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Esports & Gaming Management, which could host demonstration events and tournaments in the downtown facility.

Museum Studies, which could organize pop up galleries and exhibitions in the space.

Visual and Performing Arts, which could enhance the vitality of downtown through indoor and outdoor programs

Town/gown meet and greet events at Hoover Community Recreation Complex, to provide more opportunities for Walsh students, faculty, and staff to interact with city residents.

Many Walsh University students complete internships with downtown organizations and agencies, including internships at City Hall. As mentioned in the previous section, Walsh interns could be especially helpful for planning events in the downtown area that are aimed at a younger demographic. Walsh interns could also help the city expand its visibility on social media in ways that address requests from residents for more information about city projects, initiatives, and events.


Action Steps for Connecting University District to Downtown Core Physical Connections • Completing the streetscape connection between the Walsh University and the downtown area by continuing the existing streetscape enhancements between Taft and Marquardt for visual continuity. • Give the path a name (i.e. The Walsh Way) and a logo. • Pilot a bikeshare program with fixed stations (not dockless). Programmatic Connections • Survey the Walsh community to better understand the kinds of businesses and events that would bring them downtown. • Develop partnerships between downtown restaurants and Walsh University so students can use their Flex Funding meal plans to order from downtown restaurants. • Showcase Walsh University’s community-oriented programs in their downtown facility • Hire Walsh University interns to work on downtown events and the city’s social media outreach.

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Recommendation 4 RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS

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North Canton is a city of neighborhoods. The size, age, and character of the housing stock varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. According to a 2021 survey of community residents, 93% of respondents enjoy the neighborhood where they live. This level of resident satisfaction is something to celebrate!

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HIGHLIGHT DISTINCT NEIGHBORHOOD IDENTITIES

The identities of different North Canton neighborhoods can be highlighted through signage, public art and distinctive neighborhood names. This will enhance market demand and pride of place. Neighborhood identity signage, gateway treatments, and small-scale beautification efforts can help to evoke a sense of place for residents, describing the relationship a neighborhood has with its history, and with residents’ memories and personal experiences. A neighborhood name creates a sense of belonging, provided that the name has authentic roots in the community or is derived through a community process. Some neighborhood names in North Canton to highlight include:

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Hoover Homes, including a historic district designation with plaques and signage

Portage Corridor, a main route into the city that could be accentuated with identity signage, banners, and public art

The Sanctuary, a newer development in the city with a distinctive style.

Orchard Acres, which harkens back to the areas earlier agricultural history

College Estates, which builds on connections with Walsh University

The city could also develop an annual community pride awards program for residents who have gone the extra mile in their beautification efforts. This could be led by the marketing and special events coordinator, if the city establishes this position. Residents could nominate their own properties or their neighbors’ properties. There could be awards for curb appeal, best restoration/ maintenance of a historic property, best landscaping, best holiday decorations, and most beautiful street. The winners could be showcased at an annual awards program. And the North Canton beautiful house of the month featured on the city’s website.


EXPAND HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES Additional housing options will help to ensure that North Canton remains a familiar and comfortable place to live for long-time residents and a community of choice for new households. Planning for multi-generational neighborhoods where there’s a place and a housing option for anyone who wants to call North Canton home. North Canton is ranked seventh best retirement community in the State of Ohio, though not by intention. People move to the city and stay. The longevity of many residents gives the North Canton its stability. The city essentially functions as a naturally occurring retirement community (NORC). A NORC is a community that wasn’t expressly built for older adults but now has a large population of seniors who have stayed in their homes as they aged. To support an aging population the city, the YMCA, and organizations like Direction Home can expand their services and activities to help older adults thrive. Although seniors tend to generate less taxable income than younger households, older residents offer stability and a deep commitment to the community. The city and local nonprofit organizations can coordinate a broad range of health and social services to help support older residents in their own homes. Older residents should have opportunities to participate in the design, implementation, and prioritization of services and activities. Programs in naturally occurring retirement communities operate through multi-disciplinary partnerships, including a mix of public and private entities. At the core of each partnership are social service and health care providers, housing managers, neighborhood associations,

and most importantly, the community’s older residents. These core partners connect to many other stakeholders in a community—typically local businesses; civic, religious, and cultural institutions; public and private funders; and local police and other public safety agencies. By harnessing these resources for a common interest, NORC programs help to transform North Canton into an even better place to grow older. AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) has developed eight domains of livability to help people successfully age in place. These include housing alternatives and retrofits designed to accommodate people’s changing needs as they age; parks and public spaces designed to be inclusive of older adults; transportation alternatives, including pedestrianfriendly districts where people can safely walk; and programs that allow people of all ages to remain connected to their community. The eight domains (shown on the following page) can be incorporated into public and private investments throughout the city. Attracting younger families and young professionals can help to invigorate the housing market and generate revenue through higher taxable incomes. The school system is a point of pride for North Canton and with major investments in new school buildings underway, it is an ideal time to market housing in the community to families with children in the school district who live outside of city limits. All of the new school buildings are being built within city limits. 27 buses and 500 cars bring students from outside the city every day. A targeted marketing effort aimed at the immediate neighborhoods around school buildings could attract families Master Plan City of North Canton

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8 DOMAINS OF LIVABILITY Designed to support the needs of aging populations. (AARP, 2020)

NORTH CANTON MIDDLE SCHOOL Site is a potential opportunity for future residential development.

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ARROWHEAD GOLF COURSE Site is a potential opportunity for future residential development.

interested in living within walking distance of their child’s school. This could include parents who work from home and might appreciate the convenience of having their children nearby. Former school buildings could be adaptively reused for housing or could be demolished to allow for new residential construction. The site of the current middle school is discussed as a potential location for future residential development in the previous section. In total, the school district may demolish or decommission four existing buildings within the city of North Canton, including the middle school, early childhood center, an elementary

school, and an intermediate school. Combined or individually, these sites represent a potential opportunity to create new housing in the city. A market study that looks at potential demand for new housing could help to shape future opportunities for these sites. In addition to former school sites, the city’s Arrowhead Country Club could become a residential development opportunity in the future. Although Arrowhead remains profitable, if usage declines. The 105-acre site could be considered for residential development. In a community like North Canton where available lots are scarce, a large footprint like Master Plan City of North Canton

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ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS Examples of attached (left) and detached (right) accessory dwelling units

a golf course presents a major development opportunity. However, plans for redeveloping golf courses into housing sometimes run into opposition from adjacent residents concerned that new development will eliminate their views and lower property values. In addition to attracting families in the school district to move into the city, there could also be a marketing campaign to promote the opportunities for young families to move to North Canton to live near aging parents and grandparents. Members of the Millennial generation make up a large percentage of current home buyers. Many Millennials put off home purchases due to the Great Recession and lingering student loan debts. Millennials now represent the largest demographic group in the US and many are in their prime home buying years. The city could consider homebuyer incentives for owner-occupants and purchase/rehab programs to help first-time homebuyers customize their homes to their preferences. The city could also consider zoning revisions in some neighborhoods to allow for accessory dwelling units (ADUs). An ADU is a second small housing unit on the same site as a single-family home. It could be an apartment over the garage or a small unit on a foundation in the backyard. An ADU cannot be bought or sold separately. The owner of the ADU is the owner of the main home.

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ADUs are appealing to younger home buyers because they can rent the unit to generate income that helps with mortgage payments. ADUs also provide flexible space for people who work from home or have a home-based business. They can also be used as a nearby but separate unit for an aging parent, or a young adult child. North Canton has several neighborhoods with small lots and no garages. These neighborhoods could be marketed to young professionals who are looking for affordable options and don’t need a lot of square footage. Purchase/rehab loans and subsidized design assistance for updates could help these neighborhoods attract new home buyers. Alternatively, the city and the CIC could use land banking policies to acquire and consolidate a group of small-lot homes and market the site to prospective developers for townhouse development. This might be challenging, since the city has few vacant homes and land assembly is difficult when existing owners or renters need to be relocated. Also, housing in North Canton retains its value, so land assembly is likely to be expensive. Lastly, in order to gauge developer interest, the city would need to have site control, but it would be risky for the city to assemble a site without knowing for certain that there is developer interest.


Action Steps for Strengthening Neighborhoods Highlight Neighborhood Identities • Make a map showing the names of city neighborhoods. Invite residents to add the names they use for their neighborhoods or historic neighborhood names. • Work with residents to develop signage, public art, and gateway treatments that reinforce the identity of their neighborhoods • Develop an annual neighborhood pride awards program. Expand Housing Opportunities • Build on health and social services already available in the community, and organize additional supports needed to enable older adults to age in place. • Create a Community Action Plan and join AARP’s Network of Age Friendly Communities. • Work with local real estate agents to market North Canton neighborhoods to young homebuyers and young families, and to better understand what these potential homebuyers are looking for. • Enlist the aid of city residents in informally marketing the community to their adult children and grandchildren. • Work with local banks to develop a purchase/rehab loan program, if such programs do not already exist. • Consider zoning changes to allow accessory dwelling units. • Consider land acquisition and site assembly for a townhouse development on a block with small lots and no garages.

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Recommendation 5 COMMUNITY BROADBAND

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Cities across Ohio have expanded Internet infrastructure in thoughtful, forward-looking ways. These municipal networks have created local government savings, increased speeds, promoted service competition, and powered economic development. For example, the city of Hudson has been building out its broadband network incrementally for years, bringing fast, affordable, and reliable service to area businesses. This service is newly available to residents and it provides faster speeds and more value than existing services.

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Digital infrastructure will play an increasingly important role in North Canton’s economic prosperity development and quality of life. Connectivity is essential for business development, education, healthcare, education, and home life. Better, faster, less expensive internet access could bring new residents and businesses to North Canton. Citywide broadband aligns with many of the recommendations in this master plan. Broadband is essential for businesses looking to locate in the city. Broadband service expands home entertainment options and internet connectivity, which is important for attracting younger homebuyers to the community. It will also make telecommuting more feasible, so someone could potentially work in a distant city from their home in North Canton. This is especially helpful for Millennials, and businesses trying to attract them. Broadband is essential for distance learning, for students from grade school through college. A citywide broadband network could help Walsh University extend its virtual reach and provide wider options for K-12 education. It can also help residents age in place through telemedicine and in-home health monitoring for independent living. As a first step, the city can identify and refine its broadband goals. For example, is broadband Internet primarily needed in designated areas, like the Main Street Corridor of Opportunity and at Walsh University? Or is the goal to provide broadband Internet throughout the city and to offer free Wi-Fi in parks, public spaces, and throughout the DORA? Once the city is clear about its goals, the next step is to develop an implementation plan. It is difficult for a city the size of North Canton to design, build, maintain, and operate its own broadband network. Typically, a small city will

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enter into a public/private partnership. This usually means the private partner provides technical expertise and the city provides funding. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) earmarks substantial funding for expanded broadband access, so this is an ideal time to be exploring broadband options. Also, pending federal infrastructure legislation also includes funding for broadband. In order to identify partners for building out a broadband network, the city can start by talking to existing telecom and internet providers in North Canton, including AT&T and Spectrum. What service do they already provide in the city and are they planning to add or improve service? The goal is to find local providers who are willing to work with the city to meet the community’s needs. Also, since Walsh University has already invested in on-campus broadband, the university will be an excellent resource for exploring broadband citywide. Funding Sources The new (20 September 2021) ARPA Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund is a $10 billion fund for states to use on broadband, digital connectivity devices, and multi-purpose community facilities that directly enable work, education and health monitoring. Eligible broadband projects must provide service upon completion that meets or exceeds 100 Mbps symmetrical service. States are encouraged, but not required, to prioritize last-mile service, investment in fiber-optic infrastructure, and to prioritize broadband infrastructure owned, operated, or affiliated with local governments, nonprofits, and cooperatives. Eligible projects are also required to participate in federal low-income subsidy programs upon completion and are encouraged to provide at least one low-cost option for service. Broadband projects must be substantially complete and funds must be expended by December 31, 2026.


Action Steps for Exploring Community Broadband • • • • •

Establish a task force to set goals for expanding broadband access, with representatives from the business community, academia, and local government. Talk to local telecom and internet providers to discuss any plans they have for expanding service in the city, and to gauge their interest in partnering with the city on a broadband initiative. Talk to comparably sized cities that have created broadband networks to understand their successes and the obstacles they faced. Explore ARPA funding options for broadband expansion. Contact Ohio’s broadband office as soon as possible to determine how best to engage with the planning process for ARPA funding. Consider engaging a consultant to guide the city through the process.

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5. IMPLEMENTATION

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The North Canton Master Plan is a road map for the future. This plan identifies economic, land use, and infrastructure recomendations, as well as recommendations for residential areas and public facilities.

Some of the recommendations can be implemented quickly, while others will take longer to realize. And some of the ideas may not be implemented at all, if market conditions change and new community priorities emerge.

The plan was developed by the City of North Canton with broad community participation. Regular updates to these plans are imperative to align with development or infrastructure needs as local conditions change.

The implementation plan outlines a series of actions, expected outcomes, a time frame for accomplishing the actions, and a list of potential partners to assist with implementation.


The timeframe for implementation includes: • • • •

Short term actions (0-2 years) Medium term actions (3-5 yrs.) Long term actions (5+ years) Ongoing efforts

Funding for the recommendations in this plan will come from a variety of sources, including public/private partnerships. Specific funding recommendations, where identified, are included in the following table.

This timeframe reflects the fact that some actions build on others. The list of potential partners is an initial effort to identify organizations that can be involved in implementing the action, but it is not intended to be exclusive or comprehensive.

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1. CULTIVATE A BUSINESS-FRIENDLY COMMUNITY

ACTIONS

LEAD

PARTNERS

FUNDING

TIMEFRAME

1.01 Acquire vacant commercial properties for business development.

CIC, City

Commercial real estate agents

General fund, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

On-going

1.02 Target land banking efforts toward vacant properties adjacent to the city for possible future annexation.

CIC, City

Commercial real estate agents

General fund, CDBG

Mediumterm

City

Chamber of Commerce

City staff time

Short-term

1.04 Develop a mentor network to City connect new business owners with owners of long-standing businesses.

Chamber of Commerce

City staff time

Short-term/ on-going

1.05 Maintain a cumulative list of potential business prospects and check in with them regularly.

Commercial real estate agents, Chamber of Commerce

City staff time

On-going

Land Banking with a Purpose

Small Business Support 1.03 Create a guide for new businesses that highlights fees and deadlines.

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City

1.06 Conduct workshops with local City business owners and city officials to discuss any problems or frustrations business owners are experiencing.

Chamber of City staff time Commerce, Rotary

Short-term/ on-going

1.07 Assist North Canton Farmers’ Market in finding a permanent home, preferably in the Hoover District.

North Canton Farmers’ Market, City

IRG - Hoover District developer

EDA Economic Adjustment Assistance

Short- to mediumterm

1.08 Create signage and facade improvement grants or low-interest loans to increase the curb appeal of Main Street businesses.

City, CIC

Ohio Main Street Program of Heritage Ohio

General fund, CDBG

Mediumterm

1.09 Offer design guidance for sprucing up back entries of businesses.

City

Local design community, AIA Akron

General fund

Short- to mediumterm

1.10 Survey home-based business owners to understand their needs and connect with these entrepreneurs.

City

Ohio Secretary of City staff time State (for business listing)

Short- to mediumterm

1.11 Develop and maintain a detailed online commercial property inventory.

City

Commercial real estate agents

Short-term/ on-going

City staff time


2. BUILD A VIBRANT DOWNTOWN CORE

ACTIONS

LEAD

PARTNERS

FUNDING

TIMEFRAME

2.01 Conduct a walking audit in the downtown district to evaluate pedestrian safety and access.

City

Commercial real Community volunteers, Walsh interns

City staff time

Short-term/ on-going

2.02 Invest in pedestrian infrastructure, including more prominent crosswalks and streetlights that are timed for pedestrian traffic.

City

Stark County Area Transportation Study (SCATS)

SCATS, ODOT, General fund for local match

Mediumterm

2.03 When the Fire Department is relocated, issue an RFP to gauge interest in transforming the existing fire station building into a destination restaurant.

City

Commercial real estate agents, local developers

City staff time

Medium- to long-term

2.04 Expand downtown programming efforts to encompass all four seasons and attract a broad crosssection of city residents.

City

Walsh University, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Dowtown institutions and businesses

City staff Short-term/ time, National on-going Endowment for the Arts Our Town program, Ohio Arts Council and general fund for local match

2.05 Enforce maintenance and vacant property codes to ensure the west factory building is weather-tight and protected from the elements.

City

Commercial real estate agents, Chamber of Commerce

IRG

2.06 Work with developer on accessibility improvements to the Hoover lawn for public events and short-term installations.

City

Chamber of IRG, General Commerce, Rotary fund

Short-term

2.07 Work with developer to improve limited parts of the west factory building for temporary occupancy.

North Canton Farmers’ Market, City

IRG - Hoover District developer

Mediumterm

Improve Walkability

Downtown as a Destination

Hoover District

IRG, Ohio History Fund

Short-term/ on-going

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2. BUILD A VIBRANT DOWNTOWN CORE continued

ACTIONS

LEAD

PARTNERS

FUNDING

TIMEFRAME

2.08 Develop streetscape connections linking Bitzer Park and the Hoover Lawn, and Maple Avenue north to the high school stadium and Dogwood Park.

City

Stark Parks

SCATS, ODOT, General Fund for local match

Mediumterm

2.09 Develop parklet prototype(s) for E. Main Street to add green space and places in the DORA for people to gather.

City

Chamber of General fund Commerce, Rotary

Mediumterm

2.10 Plaza improvements in front of the YMCA.

City, YMCA

Rotary

General fund, YMCA

Medium- to long-term

2.11 Streetscape improvements to Harmon Street and Park Circle, leading to Witwer Park .

City

SCATS

SCATS, ODOT, General Fund for local match

Medium- to long-term

2.12 Green the edges of public parking lots in downtown core; add midblock pedestrian rights-of-way between Main Street and the new school; add streetscape enhancements along Taft Avenue north of Maple Street leading to the high school and Hoover Park.

City

School District

General fund, Special Improvement District

Mediumterm

City, SCATS

Traffic engineer (consultant)

General fund, SCATS

Short-term

Chamber of Commerce

General fund

Mediumterm

School District, General fund local developers and real estate agents, community focus groups

Mediumterm

Public space investments

Downtown Parking Strategy 2.13 Conduct a traffic study to explore on-street parking on Main Street between Charlotte and Bechtel.

2.14 Hire a consultant to create a City comprehensive signage package for the downtown district that directs people to public parking areas and highlights downtown amenities. Downtown Housing Opportunities 2.15 If the North Canton Middle School site becomes available, solicit interest from housing developers through an Request for Inquiries (RFI) or Request for Proposals (RFP) process.

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City, CIC


3. LINK THE UNIVERSITY DISTRICT TO DOWNTOWN

ACTIONS

LEAD

PARTNERS

FUNDING

TIMEFRAME

City, Walsh University

SCATS

SCATS, ODOT, General Fund for local match

Short- to mediumterm

3.02 Name the path along Maple Avenue City, Walsh between Walsh University and University Downtown (i.e. The Walsh Way) and create a logo.

Community input, Maple Avenue residents

General fund

Short-term

3.03 Pilot a small-scale bikeshare program with fixed stations (not dockless).

City, Walsh University

Stark Parks, Community input, Maple Avenue residents

Commercial sponsor

Short- to mediumterm

3.04 Survey the Walsh community about the kinds of businesses and events that would bring them downtown.

City, SCATS

Traffic engineer (consultant)

General fund, SCATS

Short-term

3.05 Develop partnerships between downtown restaurants and Walsh University so students can use their Flex Funding meal plans to order from downtown restaurants.

City

Chamber of Commerce

General fund

Mediumterm

3.06 Showcase Walsh University’s community-oriented programs in their downtown facility

City, CIC

School District, General fund local developers and real estate agents, community focus groups

Mediumterm

3.07 Hire Walsh University interns to work on downtown events and the city’s social media.

City, Walsh University

Chamber of General fund Commerce, Rotary

Short-term/ on-going

Physical Connections 3.01 Complete the streetscape connection between the Walsh University and the downtown area by continuing streetscape enhancements between Taft and Marquardt.

Programmatic Connections

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4. STRENGTHEN RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS

ACTIONS

LEAD

PARTNERS

FUNDING

TIMEFRAME

4.01 Make a map showing names and boundaries of city neighborhoods.

City

CUDC

CUDC can complete this as part of master plan, once we know names and boundaries of city neighborhoods

Short-term

4.02 Develop signage, public art, and gateway treatments that reinforce the identity of their neighborhoods.

City, Local artists, neighborhood landscape groups designers, graphic designers

NEA Our Town program, Ohio Arts Council and General fund or Hoover Foundation for local match

Medium- to long-term

4.03 Develop an annual neighborhood pride awards program.

City

Residents, neighborhood groups

General fund, YMCA

Short-term/ on-going

4.04 Build on existing health and social services to help support older residents age in place.

City, Direction Home

YMCA

City staff time

On-going

4.05 Create a Community Action Plan and join AARP’s Network of Age Friendly Communities.

City, Direction Home

Residents, neighborhood groups

City staff time

Short- to mediumterm

4.06 Market North Canton neighborhoods to young homebuyers and young families.

City

Local real estate agents, school district

City staff time

On-going

4.07 Enlist the aid of city residents in informally marketing the community to their adult children and grandchildren.

City

Residents, neighborhood groups

City staff time

On-going

4.08 Work with local banks to develop a purchase/rehab loan program.

City, local banks

City staff time

Mediumterm

4.09 Consider zoning changes to allow accessory dwelling units.

City

Zoning consultant

City staff time

Medium- to long-term

4.10 Acquire and assemble vacant and underutilized properties into consolidated parcels for new housing development.

City, CIC

Local real estate agents

City staff time

Long-term/ on-going

Highlight Neighborhood Identities

Expand Housing Opportunities

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5. CITYWIDE BROADBAND

ACTIONS

LEAD

PARTNERS

FUNDING

TIMEFRAME

5.01 Establish a task force to set goals for expanding broadband access.

City, Walsh University, Chamber of Commerce

School District, City staff time Chamber of Commerce, Rotary

5.02 Reach out to local telecom and internet providers to discuss any plans they have for expanding service in the city, and to gauge their interest in partnering with the city on a broadband initiative.

City

City staff time

Short-term

5.03 Reach out to comparably sized cities that have created broadband networks to understand their successes and the obstacles they faced.

City

City staff time

Short-term

5.04 Explore ARPA funding options for broadband expansion.

City, Walsh University

US Economic Development Administration

City staff time

Short-term

5.05 Consider engaging a consultant to guide the city through the process.

City, Walsh University

Chamber of Commerce

General fund, ARPA

Short- to mediumterm

Physical Connections Short-term/ on-going

Master Plan City of North Canton

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Funding of the Master Plan City of North Canton, Stephan Wilder, Mayor The Hoover Foundation North Canton City Staff Patrick DeOrio, Director of Administration Catherine Farina, Deputy Director of Administration Benjamin Young, Clerk of Council Master Plan Steering Committee William Strohmenger, Chairman Beth Borda Catherine Farina Dr. Brian Greenwell Charles Hoover Dr. Stephanie Morgan Matt Stroia Dan Tullius Mark Vandegrift Tracy Young Andrea Ziarko

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Stakeholder Interviews Dr. Brian Greenwell, Walsh University Bryan Grosschmidt, Consumer Savings Bank Mark Kemp, Tremont Coffee Dr. Stephanie Morgan, Perennial Smiles Orthodontic Specialists Jane Nicholson, State Farm Insurance Chaz Price, CKP Heating & Cooling Dan Spring, NAI Spring Real Estate Chris Vallos, Vallos Insurance Joe Waggoner, Waggoner Chocolates Ben Wheeler, North Canton YMCA Master Plan Consultants Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Kent State University Dan Tullius, Tullius Art & Design Special thanks to Walsh University for providing meeting space throughout the planning process.


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