In order to know where you are going you must first know where you are. It’s time for stake holders in Canton Ohio to stop sugar coating its current circumstances. This is the only way local stakeholders can coordinate a way forward and work in synergy to overcome the challenges at hand.
Instead, most of the “feel good” talking points coming out of Canton focus on the Hall of Fame, Bliss Tower and Hercules developments. What is more urgent and germane to turning Canton around is tackling the general fund deficit so public safety forces can provide the level of security needed to change public opinion of the community. Until that happens the crime rate, under performing schools and distressed property market will preclude middle class home buyers from settling in Canton. Decreased home ownership means decreased tax revenue which further worsens each challenge listed below.
I have had the pleasure of meeting with most of the leadership of Canton City and Stark County. I know without a shadow of a doubt that they all are working for the greater good of the commUNITY. My desire for more urgency in tackling the challenges listed here is born not out of contempt for their efforts but due to Canton Ohio making a impact on my heart and thus giving me a strong desire to see rebirth in Hall of Fame City.
Today the saving grace in Canton are the many non-profit organizations standing in the gap to provide food and shelter to the large percent of residents at risk for hunger and homelessness. Despite their best efforts we all know that the long term cure for hunger and homelessness is a job. While Canton struggles to get by on what’s left of its 20th century manufacturing expertise its college educated are fleeing to other destinations to participate in the well-paying jobs of the new economy. This trend must be disrupted if the signs of life at the Hall of Fame, Bliss Tower and Hercules are to be viable and not just a flash in the pan.
I’m available to discuss ways forward with any individual or organization. Understand that my intention isn’t just to highlight Canton’s challenges but to overcome them. As time goes on I’ll post ideas on renewal for the community in this thread. In the meantime your feedback is welcome and I need you to keep the conversation going on social media and the comments below.