JACKSON TWP.  Township trustees took a look back over the past year’s accomplishments and challenges and now are looking forward to what will be happening in 2019.

The township has been working on a number for projects during the past few years. Many of those projects made substantial progress last year and will continue in 2019. There are also several new projects that will happen in the next year.

Trustee Presidient Todd Hawke said the projects from 2018 are important to the township for a number of reasons, including they add economic value, jobs and creates more commerce.

Fiscal Officer and Economic Development Director Randy Gonzalez said that in 2019, trustees will continue to look at more economic deals as well as getting Tam O’Shanter park designed and getting the North Park projects under way.

“There are so many great things happening in the Township right now, like the new library and amphitheater, the new parks being developed at Tam O' Shanter, and multiple economic development projects," Trustee James Walters added. “We have beautiful parks which are getting better and better, wonderful schools, terrific safety services and all the amenities one could ask for.  We (the trustees) work hard every day to make Jackson the best place to live, work, play, worship and raise our families.  We are truly fortunate to live in such a wonderful community and we are very thankful for all the support from Township residents.”

Looking Bback on 2018

Township residents have seen several major projects get approved by the trustees and many have already started construction. Most of the projects have been created through a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) where the township and the city of Canton will split income taxes generated by a new economic development project.

A list of JEDDs the township entered in 2018 and continuing in 2019 include:

- Strip Avenue Extension – to be completed by July 1.

- The Schroer Group (TSG) – Keck Land – under construction on Wales Road

- Tam O’Shanter parks and commercial development – in planning phases

A list of the top developments for 2018 (many of which will continue into 2019) include:

- North Park – Established agreements for the re-building of the Jackson Township Library Branch with the Stark County District Library

- Library starting construction in February – weather permitting and the amphitheater is going back out for bid in late January with construction starting in spring or summer

- The progress of the development in North Park – relocation of basketball courts, additional tennis courts (completed by Jackson Local Schools), land has been cleared and utilities have been installed.

- Comdoc’s new location on Pittsburg Ave. NW - $12.8 million complex on the former Rohrer farm. ComDoc will be consolidating several facilities it has in Summit County to the new facility in Jackson Township. It will have a workforce of about 300 people. The company manufacturers and sells copiers, printers and other office equipment. Jackson Township and the City of Canton both approved the development as a JEDD where both will split the income tax generated by the complex.

- The development of Keck Park land where The Schroer Group (TSG) will be building a new facility bringing 300 – 400 jobs to the area. Trustee John Pizzino said the utilities and access road will be complete by end of summer and the building is projected to be complete by the end of the year.

- Establishment of the School Safety Officer positions in conjunction with the Jackson Local Schools district.

- The rezoning and redesigning of the Tam O’Shanter property. Stark Parks will have a 200-acre non-active park, there will be 62 acres in commercial development and Jackson Township will have a 40-acre active park in the complex.

“By working with the JEDDs, there are new tax dollars added via income taxes that are split with the City of Canton and by board resolution the majority of these dollars will be used for safety services in the township," Hawke wrote in an email. "These (JEDDs) are very effective in both adding additional tax revenue with the existing JEDDs as well as using them in attracting new businesses.”

“Income taxes generated from the new jobs created through the JEDDs will go directly to the police and fire departments,” Gonzalez said. “This means that the trustees don’t have to ask for more money for safety services through property tax levies.”

He added that using the tax incentive financing (TIF) to draw companies into the area has also been an important tool for economic growth in the township.

“Both ComDoc and TSG have agreed to donate $5,000 a year for five years to the Jackson Local Schools Foundation," Gonzalez said. "ABC Development has also agreed to donate the same amount.”

"These projects have been a great find, Randy and Todd have worked hard on these projects,” Pizzino said.

Looking ahead to 2019

In addition to the parks development and economic development projects moving forward, there is also a renewal police levy on the May ballot for township voters. Hawke wrote that the renewal levy doesn’t add any more taxes.

“The chief and the Police Department have done a great job keeping expenses in line and allowing us to be able to just renew the existing levy with no increase in taxes, no changes in services, and continuing to move the department forward in a positive manner for the Township,” Hawke wrote.

The Sears store will remain in Belden Village Mall as a smaller store. A new Dave and Buster’s, an events-arcade-sports bar and restaurant, will occupy part of the Sears store.

“Retail sales in the area remain strong, strong enough that Sears has decided to keep a store in the area. The Best Buys on the Strip has some of the highest sales for that chain in the country. Bonefish and Outback also have some of the best sales numbers in the country,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said there are other economic developments taking shape for 2019 including a new Omni surgery center called Oasis.

“Omni is looking at the corner of Portage and Whipple Avenues for the location for the new surgery center. It will be a $10 - $12 million building. They are looking at breaking ground this year,” Gonzalez said.

Plus, the Keck Park development will become an office park with TSG as the anchor.

“We will work on making sure the many projects in the works go forward so that they start to bring resources back into the township," Gonzalez said. "We’ll continue to market the township and keep our hotels, retail stores and restaurants busy to generate more economic development while keeping the property taxes down for our residents.”