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Canton Park Levy

In order to move Canton forward, a work group known as the Canton Recreational Services Coalition began meeting in 2010 to discuss opportunities to improve collaboration and efficiency amongst the recreational providers in the city. Representatives of this work group from the City of Canton, Canton Park Commission, Canton Joint Recreation District, Canton City Schools, J. Babe Stearn Community Center, and the Edward Peel Coleman Community Center met and collectively determined the most effective way to maximize the resources of each entity was to pursue a three year park levy in the amount of four mills which was presented on the November 2013 ballot.

The initiative proved to be the first ever successful park levy in Canton's history and allowed the Canton Board of Park Commissioners to provide or assist with funding for the operations of the following entities:

• Canton's Park System and Facilities
• J. Babe Stearn Community Center
• Edward Peel Coleman Community Center

In addition to the operational funding, the levy will have the capacity to provide funding for capital projects within the parks. To determine how these funds will be allocated, the Park System initiated a full evaluation and needs assessment of each park / facility in 2014. In conjunction with this assessment, the Park Commission continues to work with City Council, Neighborhood Associations, and our citizens to prioritize how these capital funds will be spent at these parks and facilities.

The following are a few of the key areas that the levy will seek to improve in conjunction with the Canton Joint Recreation District (CJRD).

• Collaboration of services and resources between all recreational providers
• Improved programming and recreational access for Canton citizens
• Providing new activities for youth, adults, and families in Canton
• Increased safety in park and recreational facilities
• Improved maintenance and upgrades to park and recreational facilities

As the implementation of the park levy continues there is an ongoing effort to pursue a joint levy with the CJRD in 2015. The levies of both Canton Parks and CJRD expire at the end of 2016, so it is hopeful that both entities will be able to combine their operations beginning in 2017 with a successful campaign in 2015. This levy would bring all park and recreation funding and operations in the City under one organization and provide a one stop shop for all park and recreation services.