“How can a city of approximately 70,000 manage a downtown, neighborhoods, and infrastructure that were built for a population of 120,000?”
Client: City of Canton (2016) and Canton Downtown Partnership (2013)
Team Members: Karen Beck Pooley, David Boehlke, Charles Buki, Don Poland, Andrea Weinberg
Partners: CLUE Group, MIG
Services: Housing Analysis, Visioning, Facilitation, Steering Committee, Report Creation, Private Sector Engagement, Zoning Update
In 2014, czb was retained to develop a Comprehensive Plan for the City of Canton, a municipality of approximately 70,000 residents in northeast Ohio. Since the 1950s, when its last plan was written, Canton had lost 38% of its population, the number of vacant housing units increased more than eleven times over (from 300 to 3,500 units), and the city increasingly struggled to compete with its nearby suburbs.
Although the city has major hospitals, universities, strong local businesses, and a vibrant non-profit sector, decades of decline left it largely unable to keep up with the demands of infrastructure originally designed for a city twice its size.
Between 2014 and 2016, czb worked with the Canton community on a Comprehensive Plan designed to right-size and reimagine investment in the city. Community stakeholders and czb collected input, shared analyses, and created a set of guiding principles and targets for the community through public meetings and meetings with leaders across Canton’s many sectors. The czb team also evaluated each of Canton’s 25,000 housing units in order to fully understand conditions across the city.
Canton's City Council unanimously approved Canton's Comprehensive Plan.
Canton is moving forward with redevelopment of its key focus areas, including the area surrounding the Cultural Center in northwest Canton.
After adoption of the plan, Canton created a budget for a city planner in Canton City Hall.
Canton is creating a “Do the Loop” campaign, which would connect Canton’s Hall of Fame visitors to other attractions in key areas.
czb’s final plan earned substantial buy-in from Canton residents and community and business leaders and was unanimously approved by the City Council in 2016. Notably, this was the case even though the plan contained a variety of difficult choices.