Canton City Council establishes HOF Village entertainment district

CANTON — The creation of a community entertainment district that encompasses the Hall of Fame Village will provide up to 15 new liquor licenses for the region.

The city council agreed Monday to establish the 75-acre Hall of Fame Village community entertainment district, subject to the Ohio Division of Liquor Control giving final approval. The council previously approved such a district for 281 acres in central Canton in 2020.

“It was right at the start of COVID, and the Department of Alcohol Control and other state agencies were working remotely, so there was a substantial delay,” Mayor Thomas Bernabei said. “I expect it to move a lot faster when it comes to their approvals.”

Council Speaker William Sherer II and Councilman Bill Smuckler, D-at Large, were absent from the meeting. All 11 council members present voted in favor of the district.

The state requires community entertainment districts to be at least 20 contiguous acres with retail, entertainment, and other amenities. Ohio also needs at least $50 million for development and construction in the district if it is a city the size of Canton.

The mayor’s memo to city council included a list of establishments established or planned for the area. New liquor licenses should be used at:

  • A Hilton Tapestry Hotel
  • The performance center
  • Play-Action Plaza green space
  • An indoor water park
  • Shula Steakhouse
  • An online gaming establishment
  • The Brew Kettle Suite and Topgolf Swing
  • RSI’s sports betting facility with a restaurant and bar

At the next regular meeting on July 25, the city council is also expected to vote on a $5 million loan to help fund the village’s second phase of development and infrastructure. It would depend on contributions from the county and community foundations.

Other action

  • Authorized reconstruction of the six Weis Park tennis courts, where surfaces have cracked, according to a memo from Parks and Recreation Director Doug Foltz. Its cost is estimated at $350,000 – which will come from a portion of the $750,000 the Hall of Fame Village paid for the construction and use of the Stadium Park parking lot.
  • Approved legislation that will allow eligible property owners to pay for a recently implemented sidewalk and curb replacement program through additional payments attached to their property taxes.
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