Prepared Comments Made to
NORTH CANTON CITY COUNCIL
February 4, 2013
Neighborhoods in North Canton are under assault. Throughout the city, neighborhoods are dealing with foreclosures and rentals. In my neighborhood, my wife and I have seen the attack on the serenity of our neighborhood escalate. Early last year, an arsonist torched a rental property and due to the close proximity of house next door, two homes were destroyed.
In the last few months, another rental property, three doors down from my home, was discovered to be a “Meth House.”
Foreclosures that linger in our neighborhoods, single-family homes that are turned into rentals and multiply up and down streets destroy neighborhoods and drive families out of their homes. This is how communities lose good solid law-abiding citizens.
But it is not just the activities that I have described that drive away the solid citizens who live in our neighborhoods. There are other more subtle causes.
The proposed expansion of the activities conducted by the North Canton Little League is an intrusion on the peace and serenity of a neighborhood that can start the decline of a neighborhood.
In the past, this council has been well aware of the need to maintain peace and tranquility for homeowners.
Ten years ago, in order to maintain neighborhoods surrounding Arrowhead Golf Course, City Council saw the need to spend $4.2 million and purchased Arrowhead Golf Course to insure peace and tranquility of the surrounding neighborhoods.
A few years later, City Council acted to ensure that Briar and Weber Streets remained as dead-end streets and were not opened up when the Sanctuary subdivision was developed. There have been other streets that have remained dead ends. The residents of Grassmere Street did not want their street opened up into Monticello. A street in Surrey Hill subdivision was kept a dead end to maintain peace and tranquility at the request of residents.
In each instance, City Council heard the concerns of the residents and acted to protect homeowners from unwanted intrusions in to their neighborhood.
Why is it now that residents surrounding the East Maple Street Little League Ball Fields are not given the same protections that have been afforded many other North Canton neighborhoods?
The fact of the matter is that the neighborhoods surrounding the North Canton Little League Ball Fields have received little support from the Administration or City Council in their effort to maintain the serenity of their homes and yards.
Parking issues in violation of the current lease have been flagrant for years. I myself have driven down East Maple Street and phoned in blatant parking violations when games are played. I do not live adjacent to the ball fields but I have heard from many residents regarding the intrusive use of loudspeakers during little league games.
All of these intrusions destroy the peaceful atmosphere nearby residents should be able to enjoy. It does not take many intrusions such as this to push residents out of their homes and out of North Canton.
The activities conducted by the North Canton Little League have exceeded the intent and purpose of the gift made to the City of North Canton.
It is a little league ball field intended for North Canton Little Leaguers. It was never envisioned to be Candlestick Park.
The property is also on the site of a well field that deserves protection from activities that could harm the underlying aquifer.
How can the security of the well field be maintained when numerous structures are built, light poles implanted, and additional parking installed to accommodate hundreds of automobiles?
What about the Greenspace that is being obliterated in the process?
I have a problem with the fact that 19 acres of public property have been given to a select group of individuals for their exclusive use.
Under the terms of the quit-claim deed gifting the property from the Hoover Company to the City of North Canton, the property was to be used “…exclusively for a public park and/or any other public use consistent herewith….”
Leasing the entire 19 acres to individuals at the exclusion of North Canton residents seemingly violates the terms of that gift from the Hoover Company.
How many little leaguers who play at the ball field are actual residents of North Canton?
I urge this council to deny any further expansion of activities at the North Canton Little League Ball Field and further urge that the Administration enforce all the terms of the current lease.
Lastly, I would like to commend the principals of the North Canton Little League for their efforts in providing organized sports for our youngsters but it cannot come at the expense of the peace and serenity of the residents and neighborhoods of North Canton.
Resident, City of North Canton