The county's regional planning agency has hired planning and design firm Gannett Fleming to complete a land use and transportation study related to plans for Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village.
Community members are going to get a chance to weigh in on what they'd like to see built or improved around the Pro Football Hall of Fame's campus.
The county's regional planning agency has hired planning and design firm Gannett Fleming to complete a land-use and transportation study related to plans for Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village. The estimated $200,000, federally funded study will look at how the planned development could have an impact on the surrounding community and make suggestions related to parking and transit, infrastructure, and trails.
"The goal of the study is to not affect the Hall of Fame site development — we really can't do that because it's a private thing — but is to look at ways to take what's happening there and leverage it forward to help the rest of the community," said project manager Bryan Newell, with Gannett Fleming's Columbus office.
What the study will address
Newell said the study is the community's opportunity to decide what the area around the Hall should look like and to piggyback on development there to benefit the surrounding community — he mentioned getting visitors to also eat at a downtown Canton restaurant or head to the Belden Village area to shop.
Many of the details of what the study will include aren't finalized yet. The Canton Repository obtained a copy of the planning firm's proposal through a public records request and it provides an outline of what the firm hopes to accomplish.
The study will identify existing amenities, such as retail centers, tourist attractions, schools and parks. The information will be used to make recommendations about connectivity and redevelopment.
• Parking and Traffic
The study will look at available parking near the Hall and in downtown Canton to determine where additional parking could be located and what kind of shuttle system could be used to access it.
• Earlier Studies
This isn't the first study undertaken that looks at the area around the Hall. The Ohio Department of Transportation this year released plans for $3.8 million in improvements to the Interstate 77 area near the Hall following a traffic study and the Hall received $250,000 from the state to fund a study about connecting the Hall to downtown Canton. The Hall's study has not been released to the public.
• Possible Projects
The study will recommend some projects that could capitalize on the expected growth of the Village and prioritize what should be done first and what agency is responsible for doing it. Possible themes guiding recommendations could be football, industrial heritage and the arts.
• Possible Funding Sources
Funding for this study comes from the Federal Highway Administration. The grant, however, won't pay for projects to be implemented, so the final plan submitted to the county is expected to include some suggestions for paying for projects. Ideas mentioned in the proposal include public-private partnerships and revenue from the special taxes collected within the Tourism Development District near the Hall.
Unlike some of the earlier studies about traffic and connections near the Hall, this latest study will ask for public opinion at several points while recommendations are being drafted.
Newell said some of the first questions community members will be asked will be about existing conditions in the neighborhoods near the Hall and what they envision as possibilities for improvement — do they want to see more sidewalks? Do the existing sidewalks need fixed? What about traffic flow and transit service?
The team expects to release a public survey in early 2018. Several open-house public meetings also are planned, possibly for January, April and August, to update community members on progress and get feedback.
A steering committee likely will start meeting next month and could include representatives from Canton, Plain Township, Canton City School District, Stark Area Regional Transit Authority, Ohio Department of Transportation and Mercy Medical Center, according to the fee proposal.
"The vision is this will be a giant collaborative effort of everybody surrounding the Hall of Fame site," Newell said, adding his team also will try to work with Village developers to keep them in the loop about ideas.
Project details aren't finalized yet, but here's the timeline included with the proposal:
Ongoing: Solicit public input through avenues such as public forums, steering committee meetings and workshops, stakeholder meetings, community survey, and social media
December through February: Determine the boundaries of the study area, identify goals of the plan, and assemble a steering committee
December through April: Gather information and analyze data related to community demographics, existing parking, traffic, community assets, and other Village studies
April through August: Develop some recommendations using information from the steering committee and the public
August through October: Develop a strategic plan
December 2018: Finish project
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