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The Suburbanite
  • North Canton council to discuss motel purchase

  • ICAN Housing Solutions wants to purchase the Harleigh Inn at 500 N. Main St. and convert it into a 25-unit apartment house. The building would have eight one-bedroom and 17 efficiency apartments.

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  • The city’s only hotel could become an apartment building to help veterans get back on their feet.
    ICAN Housing Solutions wants to purchase the Harleigh Inn at 500 N. Main St. and convert it into a 25-unit apartment house. The building would have eight one-bedroom and 17 efficiency apartments.
    City Council plans to discuss the proposal with ICAN officials during a work session Feb. 22.
    ICAN’s plan is to create affordable housing for low-income military veterans. Maryellen Cameron, ICAN executive director, said the agency has been working with the Veterans Administration on the project.
    Stark County’s homeless hotline received 1,200 calls during 2010 from veterans seeking help, Cameron said, explaining why ICAN officials believe there is a need to develop low-cost housing for veterans.
    “I think as a community we want to help people who have served in the military,” Cameron said.
    Because it’s geared toward helping veterans, the Harleigh Inn development — called the Harleigh House — will be different from other ICAN housing facilities created to help mental health patients.
    Tenants of the Harleigh House will be employed, but they have a low income that makes it difficult for them to afford market value housing, Cameron said. ICAN likes the location because it is along a bus route and close to business areas such as Belden Village and the North Canton Industrial Park, where some potential tenants work.
    It is expected that tenants will be single adults. Cameron said it is possible that some tenants will be former homeowners who now need a place to stay.
    Tenants must qualify to live in the Harleigh House. Eligibility includes participating in services to help tenants find better jobs and contribute to the community. There will be an on-site service coordinator to ensure tenants meet residency obligations.
    The project is in its early stages. ICAN has an agreement to purchase the Harleigh Inn, which was built in the mid-1960s, but is working on financing. The agency is trying to secure financing through Housing Development Assistance Program funds, the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, Federal Home Loan Bank and Stark County HOME funds.
    ICAN will seek a zoning variance for the number of required parking spaces. The hotel has only 32 parking spaces and city code requires two spaces per apartment unit for a total of 50. Hotel rooms will be remodeled into apartments. Plans also call for a new roof and other improvements to the building.
    Owners of the Harleigh Inn couldn’t be reached for comment.