Monday, October 6, 2014



Councilman/Majority Leader
Frank Morris, II
April 28, 2014 

October 2, 2014

Citizen Sandy Reo
October 2, 2014

Ward 1
Councilman Greg Hawk
October 2, 2014

Ward 7
Councilman John Mariol
October 2, 2014

Councilman at Large
Bill Smuckler
October 2, 2014

On Thursday last, Ward 9 councilman and Canton City Council majority leader Frank Morris, III hosted a series of community meetings designed to acquaint Cantonians with Canton's Comprehensive Plan.

Announced by Canton mayor William J. Healy, II in his "State of the City" Address on April 2, 2014 and authorized/endowed by Canton City Council to the tune of $350,000 to hire a consulting firm, "the plan" does have its skeptics.

Council on April 28th did vote to finance the plan on a 7 to 4 vote.  (Morris, Babcock, Hart and Smuckler voting "no")

The foremost "negative" is Morris.

Here is Morris on the 28th.

Here is Morris last Thursday evening at Schreiber Elementary School:

Also chiming in on the plan were:





The SCPR attended the first Canton Comprehensive Plan meeting in Edmond Mack's Ward 8, (September 16) and midway-point meeting last Thursday and contemplates attending the finale in Kevin Fisher's Ward 5 on October 16th at the J. Babe Stern Center.

The "elephant in the room" question is whether or not the Canton Comprehensive Plan has "a snowball's chance in Hell" of ever being implemented.

Because Canton officialdom is mired in despair over the decades decline of the Hall of Fame city, an implemented Canton Comprehensive Plan is viewed by some on council as Canton's last chance at resurrecting this once proud city.

The SCPR gets the impression from Councilman Morris that he views the plan as much hogwash and he will be holding the Healy administration accountable for wasting $350,000 of taxpayer money if all the plan proves to be is a publicity stunt of sorts.

One Cantonian (Citizen Cantonian) has asked what the SCPR thinks is a very good question:  If a plan is constructed from citizen input from the city's nine wards, where is the money coming from to implement it?

The SCPR is told that within the next week or two, the Healy administration will be sending legislation to council for passage with respect to generating some $15 million to $17 million in bond money to help finance various projects throughout the city in a kind of a "pre-plan:  Canton Comprehensive Plan."

Well, a second question has to be:  If it is taking $15 million to $17 million to "pre-plan" plus millions more as Canton's share of the Mahoning Road and 12th Street corridor projects, where in "God's little green acre of Canton, Ohio" are the millions upon millions to come from - that, undoubtedly, will be needed - to fund Canton's "in the works" Comprehensive Plan?

The Report is told that various council members (Ward one's Greg Hawk [finance committee chair], Ward seven's John Mariol and Morris) have been involved in discussions with the mayor regarding "how much" and for "what uses" will the contemplated bond issue defined.

Here is a speculated preliminary list:

1.  $5,000,000.00    Hall of Fame project.

2.  $2,000,000.00   Onesta Loan

3.  $2,000,000.00   Chamber Downtown Project (The Kresge Lot)  Amphitheater I believe.

4.  $2,000,000.00   New Roofs (Civic Center, Sears building etc.)

5.  $2,000,000.00   City share of demolitions cost.

6.  $2,000,000.00   Street Department new building and truck wash.

And The Report is told that the Healy administration is working on a sub-plan to sell the Sears building which houses various city offices and relocate them in substitute purchased alternative site; namely, The Canton Jewish Center on 25th Street.

The point being that if the Sears/Jewish Center story is accurate (which surely will require "above and beyond" revenues from the sale of Sears) to get The Jewish Center rehabbed and ready for Canton government's use.

Again, if this report proves to be well-founded, you have a $15 million to $17 million bond fund expenditure, you have millions of city money going into Mahoning/12th Street, and - perhaps - money going into rehabbing the Jewish Center; the question compounded comes out:  Where is the money going to come from for implementing a Canton Comprehensive Plan.

The SCPR thinks Citizen Cantonian is asking the correct questions about the funding of a Canton Comprehensive Plan.

The SCPR thinks Frank Morris is not being a "doom and gloom" councilman in his consistent expressions of skepticism of about the practicality, reliability and viability of the much touted Canton Comprehensive Plan.

The SCPR thinks that Mayor Healy and his planning gurus need to start answering those questions.

For now, the administration should be projecting a "within our 'maximum' capability" skeletal capital needs budget that Canton finances and projected taxpayer support will allow for.

The Report thinks the planners need to know Canton's "reality-based" financial capability before coming down with a plan.

The only thing worse than having no plan at all, is to have a "pie-in-the-sky" plan that has no chance of complete implementation.

The SCPR thinks such is what concerns Frank Morris.

Though Morris' views do not appear to be popular among his peers, they would be wise to pay attention to his skepticism and insist that any Canton Comprehensive Plan be fundable and therefore doable!

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