Thursday, August 4, 2016







The Stark County Political Report has learned that the Edward "Peel" Coleman Center (Coleman) located in southeast Canton and owned by the city of Canton is being considered for a management change.

Coleman is located in Ward 4 which is represented by Councilwoman Chris Smith.

The change is not without some controversy.

According to a key SCPR source (a person clearly in a position to know), there has been resistance to the notion that the highly successful J. Babe Stearn Center (JBSC, independent of the city of  Canton) located in the southwest quadrant of Canton is best suited to take over the management of Coleman currently being managed by the Central YMCA of Canton.

As this blog is being written, the way is being cleared for the JBSC (Facebook LINK) to assume management of Coleman on January 1, 2017.

Asked by the SCPR last Thursday at the city of Canton generated Forum on Community & Police Relations what she thought of the plan to change the management of Coleman, Councilwoman Smith deferred until "she knows more of the specifics" on the management change plan.

The SCPR is convinced that JBSC will become the manager of Coleman on or about January 1, 2017.

It came out at the last CPC meeting that JBSC personnel are already assessing Coleman undoubted as a precursor to the expected change in management.

The Reports source says that if one compares Coleman to the JBSC there is no comparison meaning that the JBSC is far and away a superior operation to Coleman.

Evidence of the validity of the above opinion is to be seen in a basic level of operations as in the hours of operation of the two recreation facilities.

From the city of Canton website on Coleman:


Hours of operation for the JBSC:  M-Th 6:00 a.m. thru 8:45 p.m., Friday 6:00 a.m thru 5:45 p.m. and Saturday, 8:00 a.m. thru Noon.  Closed on Sunday.

Perhaps coincidentally the change in Coleman management from the current Central YMCA of Stark County to the JBSC is likely to occur on January 1, 2017, the projected date that the Canton Parks Commission (CPC) and the Canton Joint Recreation District (CJRD) will merge into one entity that being the CPC.

Consequently, the direction going forward on:
  • how the CPC will change its focus on parks and recreation matters for city of Canton residents and, of course, other Stark Countians who use Canton's park and recreation programs and facilities will be made by Canton Parks Commission and its board members Andy Black, Mike Hanke and Sam Sliman, and
  • the management of Coleman 
will likely be made by the CPC board (Andy Black, Mike Hanke and Sam Sliman) at its August 10th meeting. 

A impetus for the Coleman management change is for Canton to have greater control in harvesting data on the operation of Coleman and the JBSC and thereby qualify for grants that will allow for fiscal support that portends increased financial stability for the operation of both facilities.

While the idea is that Coleman and the JBSC operations (remembering that the JBSC facility ownership wise is independent of Canton government) will mirror one another in overall programming and operation;  aspirationally, individual unique factors to each are set to survive into joint management.

Progress on getting Coleman up to J. Babe Stern Community Center standards might have happened some time ago were it not for the hostility of former mayor William J. Healy, II towards the JBSC.

On a ironic note, one of the foremost promoters of the JBSC has been Ward 5 councilman Kevin Fisher, who, like Smith (Ward 4) is waiting for more information before commenting on the projected change of Coleman's management, was also one of the hard core council supporters of the Healy administration.

A quote by Fisher on JBSC:  "... a long successful history of managing a community center in the heart of the SW end ..."

It appears to the SCPR that such is the sentiment of the Mayor Thomas M. Bernabei administration and it is pretty much a "no doubter" that come January 1, 2017 Coleman will be under "new" management.

Copies of Canton's contracts with Central YMCA of Stark County on Coleman followed by a copy of the contract of Canton with the JBSC.





I have included the drawdown sheets from 2015 and 2016 for the JBSC as well as the 2015 Annual Report which has all of the expenses for both buildings(See 401045 and 401040 line items).  

I can also tell you that we have spent nearly $35,000 YTD on the 2016 YMCA contract at the Edward "Peel" Coleman Center.  We typically do not pay the YMCA the full annual amount of their contract as they collect the revenues received at the building for various user costs and deduct this amount from our bill on a monthly basis.

The reason for the difference in overall expenses is building ownership.  

We provide reimbursable funds for the JBSC to operate their programs as they ultimately have their own board and non-profit distinction responsible for their building.  

The YMCA is not responsible for the Edward "Peel" Coleman Center building, just the programming as we own the building.  

We spend an additional $200,000 to $250,000 annually at the Edward "Peel" Coleman Center for all building maintenance, utilities, and other repairs and upkeep.  Therefore, both buildings receive approximately the same amount of funding from the levy with the Edward "Peel" Coleman Center receiving slightly more given that we are ultimately responsible for all aspects of the facility.

Hope this answers the rest of your questions.


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