Lt. Governor Lee Fisher discusses economic growth in Canton
Visit includes review of local projects and tour of Hercules facility
PHOTO: Lt. Governor Lee Fisher (center-right) and Mayor Healy (center) discuss ongoing economic development projects in Canton. Also pictured, Councilman Thomas West (center-left), Kathy Strong (second left), Councilman Dave Dougherty (third left).
CANTON, Ohio - Lt. Governor Lee Fisher visited Canton on Monday at the request of Mayor William Healy to discuss the City's current and future development projects with local officials. The visit, which included a tour of the former Hercules Engine facility now under renovation, highlighted the many ongoing projects taking place in the greater Canton area totaling an estimated $1 billion.
"We are excited to have the chance to speak with the Lt. Governor about our progress because we believe the City is beginning to turn itself around," Healy said. "The State of Ohio has been an invaluable partner throughout many of our projects, and we are thankful for their support. Today's meeting reaffirms our partnership, and we can't wait to continue moving forward."
Lt. Governor Fisher, who also serves as Director of the Ohio Department of Development, is the state's top economic development official. Several projects in Canton have been awarded state development funds in 2008, including the restoration of the Onesto Hotel downtown and the $178 million conversion of the Hercules Engine Plant into retail, residential, and exhibition space.
Among topics discussed were the upcoming 2009 Junior World Football Championship Games, the proposed Mahoning Road Corridor Revitalization Project, and the City's plans for spending approximately $3.6 million in recently-awarded federal housing funds. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently gave local governments across the country extra funds to combat the disastrous effects of the nation’s housing crisis.
Robert Torres, who serves as Director of Development for the City of Canton, said that the meetings offered the City a rare chance to receive valuable advice and input from a high-ranking state official.
“We received some incredibly valuable advice from Lt. Governor Fisher on a variety of projects, and we will be refining our approach in a number of areas as a result of this morning’s meetings,” Torres said.
Among a large number of specific projects discussed were:
• 2009 Junior World Football Championships – The City of Canton has been chosen by the International Federation of American Football to host the organization’s championship games (Youth Division) in June and July of next year. The event, which will bring teams and hundreds of visitors from around the world to Canton for a week of competition and cultural exchange, is likely to draw thousands from across the region as the United States takes on the world in America’s #1 sporting event.
• Mahoning Road Corridor Project – Spearheaded by the North East Area Renaissance neighborhood association and area businesses, this project would revitalize a section of Mahoning Road by installing modern streetscapes and new pedestrian walkways. The project, which is expected to cost approximately $18 million, has already received or been promised funding from a variety of local sources. Organizers are currently in the process of applying for several state and federal grants to help pay for project expenses.
For more information, visit: www.jrccares.org/overview.htm
• H.U.D. Neighborhood Stabilization Program – The City of Canton was recently awarded $3.6 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help local officials combat the disastrous results of the nation’s housing crisis. The federal money, which will be used to renovate/rehabilitate dilapidated houses, demolish homes that are deemed irreparable, and assist residents with down payments and financial counseling, will be targeted in areas where home foreclosures have had their greatest negative impact.
For more information, visit: www.hud.gov and click “Neighborhood Stabilization”