The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce has announced its endorsement of Issue #23, a 1.2 mill, 8-year property tax levy to fund Stark Parks. Issue #23 will appear on the November 5 ballot and replace the current 1 mill levy that expires this year.

“Stark Parks enhances quality of life and contributes to the economic vitality of the region, which is essential to the retention of a quality workforce and attraction of young professionals,” said Dennis P. Saunier, president and CEO of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce. “In addition, the parks offer abundant recreational opportunities that support a healthy lifestyle and can be enjoyed by all.”

Since 2014, Stark Parks has connected more communities through 40 miles of new trails, opened three new parks, taken ownership and management of 200 acres at Tam O’Shanter Park, restored the floodplain in North Canton, continued to offer free or low-cost activities, and promoted wellness opportunities like the Mindfulness Walk at Petros Park.

With the 1 mill replacement and additional 0.2 mill, Stark Parks will continue to make connections that create destination experiences for users, add more programs for health and wellness, improve accessibility within and between parks, and continue the buildout of the Stark County Trail and Greenway Master Plan.

While the Chamber is sensitive to additional tax burdens on county residents, the economic benefits of a strong county parks system, as well as the direct tie to the Chamber’s strategic objective to sustain the community through talent attraction and retention, outweigh the additional $1.39/month cost to taxpayers.

Support of Issue 23 was vetted and approved by the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee and approved unanimously by the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Therefore, the Chamber recommends a YES vote on Issue #23 on the November 5 ballot.