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City Council Quick Takes: Occupancy Grant, City Parks Update & More

Council discussed an occupancy grant to help a company relocate within the city. Plus, council members gave updates about Dogwood and Witwer parks.

North Canton City Council met in Council Chambers Monday night and discussed several ordinances and resolutions, including an ordinance involving a North Canton PR firm receiving a $10,000 occupancy grant to relocate within the city.

Council had its second reading for the ordinance, which would authorize the mayor to enter into an industrial and commercial retention grant for Crowl, Montgomery & Clark, Inc. The company has nearly 20 employees and has a $750,000 pay roll.

The company is leasing a building located in the New Berlin Commons plaza, near ,  and . The company plans to move into a building near  on South Main Street.

Council members had , and expressed their satisfaction with keeping the business here in the city.

Resident Chuck Osborne said the city is too quick to hand out money to businesses that might have relocated within the city or moved to the city without the incentive.

"An industrial and commercial retention grant is just another fancy name for corporate charity," he said.

But Mayor David Held said deciding whether to give out incentives is never easy.

"It really is a challenge to determine whether or not you give incentives to a business," Held said. "It's similar to selling your home to someone. You don't know if they're really looking at another house or how close they are in price. So you've got to make a determination as to whether or not you're willing to meet the requirements that they're asking for."

"For businesses that we've offered incentives to relocate to the city, we try to gather as much information as we can to determine — are they really going to go (elsewhere)?"

In other business: 

  • Councilman Doug Foltz updated city officials on the status of the city's parks, saying the fence at Dogwood Skate Park is coming down and new posts and fencing will be erected. Dogwood shelter also will see three new sides made out of stone, and a tree company has been working at Dogwood Park to remove dead and dying trees. Foltz said Witwer Park also is expected to get some attention with new fencing.
  • Councilman Mark Cerreta reminded residents that they can (along with that month's water bill) at the end of September. The city distributed its first survey about two and a half years ago and used the residents' answers to create a plan of action to increase economic development, improve access to the city and address ecological concerns, like flooding. Members of the North Canton Citizens' Survey Committee are hoping to get a strong response this time around.
  • Cerreta also encouraged members of volunteer groups to keep a look out for a letter about the , which aims to connect those willing to help with those in the city needing assistance. The letter will go out to churches as well as civic organizations based in North Canton.
  • Councilman Jeff Peters told council that interviews for the city's law director position will take place Wednesday and Thursday morning, and he hopes to have a candidate ready for consideration Friday.
  • Cerreta told council the city has nearly made its decision about an entryway sign. North Canton Patch had run photos of the three signs in June and . Out of a brick, stone and a combination of brick and stone, the brick gateway sign received the most votes. New city signage was just one of several changes community members said they wanted to see during . 
  • Council welcomed Michael Hartenstein, the .
  • Council moved through the night's agenda with little issue. (See the full agenda in the PDFs section of this update.)
  • Council set its next meeting for 7 p.m. Sept. 4. — a Tuesday — because the Monday before is Labor Day, a federal holiday.

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