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About the Plaza
Centennial Plaza, a two acre, $12 Million investment in the core of the Downtown Special Improvement District, aims to strengthen the community and add a much needed formalized community space for the City of Canton; focused on utilizing the history and character of the existing site as the foundation for the design, in conjunction with Canton’s relationship with the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a sister site for commemorative events.
The project is an important building block in creating a vibrant downtown promoting the ‘Live, Work and Play’ narrative, with the ability to generate day-to-day activities and host major events. It will serve as the “city square” for Canton, Stark County and the greater Northeast Ohio Region; providing a memorable landmark and experience for all visitors.
For the past three decades, the city of Canton has endeavored to provide for its citizens a central public space that would be both iconic in its design and transformative in its approach as to encourage economic development, strengthen the downtown core and enhance surrounding neighborhoods.
Beginning in 2016, with the recommendation by the City’s Comprehensive Plan calling for a public green space downtown – The Canton Centennial Plaza project is that space for the city, establishing a central green space for the community and a national destination for visitors.
The formalized programming and design phase began in earnest in 2018, and by May 2019, Canton City Council formally approved funding for the project. This action capped several years of design, fundraising and discussions related to creating a way of linking downtown Canton with the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Hall of Fame Village powered by Johnson Controls campus.
Ground was officially broken for Centennial Plaza on Aug. 28, 2019.
Centennial Plaza occupies the city block formerly known as Market Square, on land that had been historically occupied by the Kresge department store; however, the business closed, and after years of neglect the existing structure was demolished in 2009 and the site reverted to a green space and utilized for community events. This location, is only a short walk from the site of the former Hupmobile dealership where Ralph Hay, who also owned the Canton Bulldogs, had organized a meeting with other owners of professional football teams.
Held Sept. 17, 1920, that meeting became the birthdate of the American Professional Football Association, rechristened as the National Football League two years later, and it’s why the NFL considers Sept. 17, 2020 as its official centennial.
The project was initiated in 2016, with the most recent design phase authorized by Council in 2018. The project broke ground on August 28, 2019 Notwithstanding the World-wide Covid Pandemic, Centennial Plaza reached substantial completion on November 20, 2020.
- Create a vibrant public space for all of Canton in the heart of the city.
- Develop a destination that attracts visitors to Downtown.
- Stimulate future economic growth.
- The nexus for the 100th Year Anniversary of professional football.
City of Canton along with its public and private partners as outlined on the Donor Recognition Wall.
MKSK Studios, a renowned landscape architecture, urban design and planning practice headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.
- Involved in the design process since 2016
- Worked from the ground up with stakeholders, the public and the city administration led by Donn Angus, Director of Planning to design a world-class public space that balanced the needs of a vibrant downtown with the desired connectivity with the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- Provided oversight and management throughout the construction.
Jerzee’s Downtown Café is operated by local restauranteur, Chris Maggiore. Chris also owns Jerzee’s All American Bar & Grille and a variety of other restaurants in greater Stark County Ohio.