By Alison Matas, The Canton Repository
Recent ‘Strengthening Stark’ report recommends future infrastructure investment and job growth should be focused around 10 existing sites.
The Finefrock Industrial Park in southwest Massillon was developed in the 1960s and 1970s as a way to bring jobs and capital investment to the area.
Forty years later, it’s full, and the businesses in the industrial park — including EB Display and the Heinz plant — account for an estimated 2,000 jobs.
This industrial park, plus other nearby business parks and the Stark County Farm make up one of 10 designated areas across the county where economic development efforts are expected to be focused moving forward.
The recently released “Strengthening Stark” economic development report recommends that future infrastructure investment and job growth be targeted at existing “job hubs” — places where a large concentration of traded-sector employment and transportation infrastructure already exist. It’s a strategy intended to increase the county’s competitiveness, make jobs more accessible to county residents, drive job growth and stretch limited financial resources.
“The challenge now in a modern area is the scale is so large,” said Ted Herncane, who heads both the Massillon WestStark Chamber of Commerce and the Massillon Development Foundation. “It’s not a Massillon versus Canton versus Alliance. It’s a Stark County/Northeast Ohio versus the rest of the country.”