Tuesday, May 15, 2018



Seven (7) Video Clips of Jackson/Stark Commissioners Meeting

Jackson Township is already the retail commercial hub of Stark County.  And it is looking like it before long, the township will extend The Strip behind the current location of Home Depot on a northward trek to Applegrove Avenue.

This extension has been in the making for some ten (10) years now.

What is coming to the extended Strip?

"Mum" is the word, so far.

The "prime" Jackson economic development and financial security factor going forward appears to be one Randy Gonzalez.  A former Jackson trustee, he has been fiscal officer going back quite a number of years now and economic development director since November, 2017.   Some think Gonzalez is Jackson Township government with Trustees Hawke, Pizzinio and Walters taking their marching orders from him.

Gonzalez as a government official has a pretty impressive record.  As an "organized" Stark County Democratic Party official; not so impressive.

Among Gonzalez's government achievements that come to mind (undoubtedly there are many others) include:
  • Sounding an "alarm bell" of Stark's broken 911 system (began in May, 1990) in 2008 which has resulted in a wholesale revamp of the system which serves Stark County as a whole,
  • Being a key factor (as chief deputy clerk of courts) in the creation of and the enhancement of Stark Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS), 
  • Working with Canton and Plain Township to create a collaborative economic development/shared resources structure including JEDDS (LINK for description) and TIFFS (LINK for description) as provided for Ohio political subdivision governments by the Ohio Legislature,
    • Note:  TIFFs for the most part take away from school revenues
  • Supporting Jacksonians (LINK) whose objective was to have the Stark County District Library replace the "falling apart" township located facility with a new one.
This blog's evaluation of Gonzalez's achievement is not some sort of "cheerleading" that The Repository is likely to do.  As regular readers of this blog know, Gonzalez, as a Stark County Democratic Party operative, has been the subject of quite of number of critical blogs.

There has never been anything personal about the criticisms, but it is understandable that the likes of Gonzalez would take it as such.  It appears he is infected to a lesser degree with the president's malady of not taking criticism very well.  Highly political people usually don't.  And Gonzalez is first and foremost a politician.  Nobody should ever forget that.

Getting back to Jackson Township governance, there is an outstanding negative about Jackson Township government itself.

What might that be?

Its police department!

It is way too expensive (Plain Township via contract with Stark County Sheriff provides efficient/effective policing services to a population more less the size of Jackson at about 20% of the cost).  Moreover, the JPD has a history of chronic personnel issues.  So along with the expense, the trustees in having the township's own police department have brought on themselves the "headaches" of dealing with conflicts within the department.

Two major shopping centers are located in the "we make things happen!" (trustee sanctioned descriptor) township.

Belden Village Mall (Starwood Retail Partners of Chicago; opened 1970) and The Strip (Stark Enterprises of Cleveland; opened 1996).

Of all of Stark County's townships, Jackson appears to be the most aggressive and committed to economic development.

The development of Belden Village and The Strip in Jackson Township probably in combination had a significant role in the decline of Canton as the commercial center of Stark County.

Canton's big play in retail shopping had been Mellet Mall (now Canton Centre) which one blogger in 2014  termed as being "dead and dying retail." (LINK)

On April 30th, Jackson officials (Trustee Todd Hawke, Fiscal Officer Randy Gonzalez and administrator/legal counsel Michael Vaccaro at their request met with Commissioners Janet Creighton and Bill Smith regarding an impending retail expansion within the township.

The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) was there and presents a video Q&A breakdown on the session in order to provide Jackson residents and Stark Countians at large with the "latest and greatest" on the impending expansion "The Strip" retail center that faces I-77.

In appendix to this blog is a full (unedited) presentation of the work session.  Also in the appendix are pdf files providing detailed information on the Belden Village Mall and The Strip.


First, Joe Underwood of the Stark County Regional Planning office as to why Jackson officials are into to discussing "The Strip" extension project. (1 min, 50 sec)

Next, Jackson administrator/legal counsel Michael Vaccaro.

Vaccaro speaks to why Jackson officials are in to see, talk with the commissioners and the status of the project. (2 min, 32 sec)

Next Stark County assistance prosecutor Deborah Dawson and Underwood on the need/lack of need of a "performance bond." (3 min, 19 sec)

Next, Fiscal Officer/Economic Development Director Gonzalez outlines economic development projects going on in Jackson with focus on The Strip extension.  (3 min, 46 sec)

Next, Gonzalez on Keck Park project. (3 min, 3 sec)

Next, Dave Torrance of Stark County Engineer's office weighs in. (40 sec)

Last, timetable discussion among Jackson officials, county officials on the Jackson The Strip extension project.  Also, Gonzalez comment on "no anchor" yet for project and reference to future Tam O'Shanter project.  (8 min, 28 sec)


The complete video (23 min, 47 sec) of the Jackson/Stark Commissioners work session:


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