Monday, August 25, 2014


Prepared Comments Made to
August 25, 2014 

            “The North Canton Community Building was founded in 1923 by W. ‘Boss’ Hoover who gave the original ‘Community Building’ to North Canton for the enjoyment of its citizens. The current building was completed in 1970, with a major addition in 1983 and a new Wellness Center addition in 2002.”
            This information is from the Website of the North Canton YMCA.

            Unfortunately, “Boss” Hoover is no longer with us today nor is the company that he founded. The charity and paternalism championed by W. “Boss” Hoover and the Hoover Company for our community are gone. That benevolence is not something Maple Street Commerce, now the owners of the former Hoover property, feel compelled to show our community.

            What has Maple Street Commerce done for our community since becoming owners of what is now called the Hoover District? 

The roles have been reversed as it is the community that is now the benefactor. Corporate millionaires now expect to be served by the community upon which they have descended to suck from them as much as City leaders will hand out.

How much has North Canton provided to the millionaire owners of the Hoover District since their arrival in 2008?

First was $440,000 to purchase cranes for their first tenant, Meyers Controlled Power. Then it was $3,000,000 to renovate factory space for The Shroer Group. Then another $1.0 million for further office space on the second floor for additional tenants. Most recently and most noticed by the public is the expenditure of $2,253,000 for what has been described as a widening of East Maple Street. The so-called widening of East Maple in actuality simply creates on-street parking in front of the office building. 

It is through this recent construction that the majestic Pin Oaks which lined East Maple Street were destroyed in spite of the fact that the majestic Oaks were located far enough away from the finished widening of East Maple Street to have remained.

In total, our small community has provided close to $6,753, 000 and this does not include the many tax abatements that the City and the North Canton City School District have had to accept to help make lease terms with Maple Street Commerce acceptable to new tenants.

I suspect “Boss” Hoover is rolling over in his grave at this point, but that is not all that Maple Street Commerce has inflicted on our little community.

Plans to expand the south parking lot could lead to the destruction of hundreds more trees that serve as a buffer to the surrounding neighborhoods. If that happens, home values and neighborhood harmony will be impacted very negatively. 

Community institutions are also feeling the greed of Maple Street Commerce. 

Stark Parks will be forced to relocate a trail if the south parking lot is expanded. The forced relocation of the trail will result in the squandering of thousands of dollars of public money that were expended to build the trail. 

Lastly, I am concerned about the future viability of the North Canton YMCA. That concern is for two reasons. 

First, the new entrance to the YMCA parking lot, presently under construction, is wholly inadequate. At 22 feet in width, it is much too narrow and will not serve the needs of the motoring public. Many of you on this Council have looked at this poor design and concur.

The new entrance to the Hoover District parking lot is 33 feet wide. Why wasn’t the entrance to the YMCA parking lot afforded an equally inviting navigable entrance?  Further, bus traffic and emergency vehicles will have great difficulty maneuvering in the poorly designed network of curbs.

Second, the vacation of McKinley Street will soon be decided before the Planning Commission. The vacation of McKinley Street should go entirely to the YMCA. The YMCA has parking and growth needs of its own that need to be filled. And that need is now. 

Maple Street Commerce, through its plans that may or may not be realistic and that may or may not come to fruition, is making a demand for parking that is unfair to the North Canton YMCA. 

McKinley Street is located in the very shadows of the YMCA building. To not vacate the entire length of McKinley Street to the YMCA will simply put a chokehold on their future. 

Please do not undermine the seeds that W. “Boss” Hoover planted over ninety-one years ago. 

Economic development should not come at any and all costs to the community.

I ask this council to protect our community and the institutions that serve us. Save the Stark Parks trail. Support the North Canton YMCA in every way possible. And protect the City and its residents from the rampant “Corporate Greed” that we see consuming our community. 

W. “Boss” Hoover is watching!

Thank you,
Chuck Osborne, Resident
City of North Canton