CANFIELD, Ohio — The two Canfields – the city and township – are each advancing initiatives to promote and govern growth in their respective communities.
Paperwork creating a joint economic development district, or JEDD, between the municipalities for township property at U.S. Route 224 and Palmyra Road was filed the first week of April, reports city manager Wade Calhoun. An agreement for the city to annex the former Red Gate farm property adjacent to Windsor House at Canfield is also in its final stages.
In addition to their work together, the two communities are separately moving forward with new comprehensive plans to manage and govern their growth.
Canfield Mayor Richard Duffett, now in the second year of his first term, expects to have a roadmap for the city’s progress completed in the next 12 to 18 months. In March, city council voted to hire MS Consultants Inc., Youngstown, to develop the plan. The firm will partner with Downtown Redevelopment Services, Cleveland, for the work, Duffett says.
“They will look at just about everything that the city would be concerned about,” he says. “It’s going to give us a picture of how Canfield wishes to develop in the next 10 years.”
In addition to last month’s ribbon cutting for 717 Credit Union’s Canfield Township branch – slated to open in May – Do-Cut Sales & Service returned to its rebuilt store at 6442 S. Raccoon Road, where Verizon Wireless will soon join it in the new plaza, reports Township Trustee Chairman Joe Paloski.
The Courtyard by Marriott in Westford Lifestyle Community is completing its new banquet facility this year and Millennial Moments is moving forward with its plan to develop a $100 million-plus luxury lifestyle center at Route 224 and Palmyra Road in the new JEDD.
Trustee Marie Cartwright points to several residential developments in the township, including Summer Wind – which is in its 10th phase – Abbey Road, Fox Den, Lakewood Villas, Tippecanoe Woods and Westford.
Permits for commercial construction in the township, including renovations and signage, last year totaled $2.39 million and residential permits totaled $8.56 million, reports zoning inspector Traci DeCapua. So far this year, residential permits total $1.43 million in the township, with no commercial permits pulled so far.
“Canfield Township has created an environment for economic development and we encourage planned growth in the area,” Paloski says. “The township, with the help of the ABC Water District and county, has expanded water capacity east of Route 11 with Aqua Ohio and we are looking to create more water access in the western portion of township with Youngstown water.”
With the considerable interest in the township, having a plan in place for structured residential, commercial and agricultural development and to maintain the township’s character is important, township officials assert.
“The new comprehensive land use plan will be a guide for the vision that we see for our township in the next 10 to 20 years,” DeCapua says. “It will study our current land use and it will explore our options for potential growth in the future.”
The township should have its comprehensive land use plan completed by year’s end, according to Cartwright. A public forum on the plan is scheduled for April 10.
“We’re hoping to get residents’ input,” Cartwright says.
The comprehensive plan committee is comprised of business people and residents from the community “so that we can see how they would like to see our community develop and what needs that we have, what type of development do they want to see,” she continues.
Last year, while no commercial permits were pulled other than for renovations in the city of Canfield, there were three residential permits totaling $933,736, reports Mike Cook, zoning inspector. This year, one commercial permit for an $866,450 project was pulled, as well as a $310,000 residential permit.
Duffett was among those attending the March 28 ribbon cutting at the Stonebridge Neighborhood residential development’s sales model.
“This is exciting to see,” he says. “We needed some more new development here and this is going to give families that want to come here another option.”
Among the issues the city of Canfield’s comprehensive plan will address are traffic, transportation, utilities, housing, zoning and downtown redevelopment, the mayor says. Input will be sought from residents and businesses in the city.
“Transportation is a big thing,” Calhoun says. Route 224 and state Route 46 bisect the city, which is also close to state Route 11. “So there’s a number of cars that are traveling in, around and through Canfield on a daily basis,” he says.
“Of course, we’ve been growing in the geographic center of Mahoning County so we realize we do have a traffic problem,” Duffett continues. “We’re going to look at that 224-Route 11 intersection and try to look at some options.”
MS Consultants’ expertise in transportation planning will be valuable in understanding how to keep traffic flowing while still keeping people coming to Canfield, Calhoun says. Using the firm’s planning, engineering and architectural experience, Canfield aims to maintain its historic design and “our overall quality of life while adapting to new development.”
Another component will be a market analysis to determine what businesses are needed in Canfield.
“A big piece of this is going to be the downtown,” Duffett says. “We would like to see more activities in downtown Canfield after 5 o’clock.”
Last year, the city engaged Town Center Associates of Beaver, Pa., to conduct an inventory of its downtown – “the vibrancy index” – and a sign and façade assessment, Calhoun says.
The firm’s results will be factored into the comprehensive plan process to understand the challenges facing the downtown district and how to attract more businesses and people.
“Our vibrancy index is relatively low in comparison to what a vibrant downtown looks like,” he says. “We’ve got a few pieces, but for the most part we’re predominantly office buildings. We’re working with a number of partners to try to really keep the current mix that we have and just add to it so that we’re fulfilling all the needs that citizens have.”
Potential additions could include restaurants, boutiques and other businesses to bring traffic to the Village Green after 5 p.m., but Duffett cautions that he wants to be selective.
“We want to study it. We want to see what our business community says,” the mayor says. “We want to see what our citizens would have to say about that. And then we might have to do some zoning adjustments.”
Major business recruitment efforts will likely wait until the comprehensive plan is completed and city officials see where there are opportunities for businesses to go according to the new land use plan, Calhoun says.
“Red Gate Farm is kind of the obvious blank slate which we want to go forward and develop,” he says. “There’s 300 acres of old farmland that once we get utilities to, the sky’s the limit for that.”
Members of the Canfield business community already have been weighing in on the city’s future. Last year, Duffett began the Quarterly Mayor’s Business Forum to solicit input from Canfield businesses. So far, three sessions have taken place, with attendance ranging around 25 to 30.
“We are strengthening the relationship between the city and the businesses, Duffett says. “We don’t have a business group so they like the networking.”
Participants are ready to provide their input on “what they would like to see as far as other businesses coming to town that would enhance them,” he adds.
One of those attending the meetings is Tom Peirsante, president and CEO of Piersante & Associates, who is encouraged by Duffett’s future-oriented focus. Too often, past administrations focused on the present. Duffett does too, Peirsante says, but adds the caveat that the mayor also considers what the community is going to look like a decade or more out by utilizing market analysis and surveys to chart a course for the city.
Retaining the city’s “small-town” flavor is important, but Canfield also needs to look at traffic, zoning, land use and other considerations for development, he says.
“That kind of vision is what you see in larger cities,” Peirsante says. “I give credit to the mayor and City Council for taking these big-city-type ideas and translating them to a smaller town because there’s no reason why big-city ideas can’t apply and work in a smaller municipality at a smaller scale.”
Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.