Dirt is being moved and other work has begun on an extension of Strip Avenue NW that has been roughly a decade in planning.
JACKSON TWP. Dirt is being moved and other work has begun on an extension of Strip Avenue NW that has been roughly a decade in planning.
In those proceeding years, design elements and logistical issues caused delays. So did the economic recession between 2007 and 2009. But, ultimately, the project materialized and is underway, said Randy Gonzalez, the township's economic development director and fiscal officer.
Strip Avenue will be extended from where it ends at Eagle Circle NW (behind Home Depot) north toward Applegrove Street.
Grading work has begun on the site in advance of road construction. Relocation of a Dominion Energy Ohio pipeline that runs through the property started in June.
"I think it's moving along really rapidly," Gonzalez said of the road extension project, which is expected to be finished by the end of the year.
The benefit of the project is multi-faceted. Traffic congestion in the retail and commercial area of The Strip will benefit. So will traffic flow for general travel to and from the township, including on Portage Street, Whipple Avenue and Frank Avenue, Gonzalez said.
The roughly 2,000-foot extension will create a north-south connection from Applegrove Street to Tuscarawas Street W in Perry Township.
Jackson Township Trustee Todd Hawke elaborated on the positive impact.
"As we look at ways to affect change in the direction of Stark County from the findings of the 'Strengthening Stark' report, this project is an economic development as well as (a) community development project," he said, citing "more attractive access" to commercial development and alternative routes of travel for the public.
The road work should not disrupt existing traffic significantly on Strip Avenue in the Portage Street area, Hawke said. Minor disruptions could occur at the intersecting roads of Sunset Strip to the south and Applegrove to the north, he said.
Vacant land being accessed by the Strip extension is pegged for future development: 55 acres owned by Dressler Properties, part of Fitzpatrick, a development and real estate company specializing in projects in Jackson Township. Nothing specific is lined up or on the verge of being announced, Gonzalez said.
The road extension will create additional access for future development to the area north of Home Depot and BJ's Wholesale Club to the south of Applegrove, Hawke said. New retail or commercial development will expand the township's property tax base and create jobs, he said.
Another benefit of the project is opening access to the eastern portion of the county, particularly Plain Township, North Canton and Lake Township residents, Gonzalez said.
JEDD in place
Stark County commissioners and the Stark Regional Planning Commission both recently approved final plans for the $2 million Strip Avenue extension project, what some have referred to as "The Strip 2." Wenger Excavating was awarded the bid.
The extension is a township project. Dressler Properties donated the land where the road will be constructed. The $2 million project includes about $500,000 for the relocation of the gas pipeline.
Jackson Township and Canton signed a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) agreement to collect income taxes at the site. Tax increment financing also is being planned at the site, Gonzalez said.
Using the two tax options, the township will collect funds to repay the cost of the extension project, which initially is being paid for by township road funds. Income tax revenue generated from future development would be directed to the township's police and fire departments, Gonzalez said.
Decades of commercial and retail development left the township with few options for improving traffic flow, he said.
"The problems that we're running into in that corridor is we can't widen the streets (Portage, Whipple and Frank) anymore," Gonzalez said. "There's just no more right-of-way. We can't take away (business) parking."
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