The Cleveland-based nonprofit JumpStart Inc. has committed funding and assistance to the city’s innovation district.
It would be the first time JumpStart, which reports having invested millions in Northeast Ohio startups in the past 15 years, went beyond a “modest partnership” in Stark County, said CEO Ray Leach.
“This is the first real significant partnership and collaboration that has any size or substance and is a multi-year commitment,” he said.
Canton City Council on Monday discussed plans for the district and a three-year contract with the Canton Community Improvement Corporation to administer funding, which is scheduled for a vote next week.
The 12-block district created in May 2017 is roughly between Second and Sixth streets from Cleveland Avenue NW to Piedmont Avenue NE. It was created in conjunction with a redevelopment district and required to include at least one technology incubator and internet capable of downloads at 100 gigabits per second.
The agreement City Council is considering consists of an annual budget of $266,000 for innovation district operations, including office space, staff, utilities, supplies, marketing, events and awards.
Canton would provide $75,000 from the comprehensive development fund, which is expected to accumulate $3 million this year and $6 million in 2019 from the city’s income tax increase. JumpStart will provide $52,000 a year and, through the state’s Third Frontier network, another $99,000. The Stark Community Foundation also pledged $40,000 a year.
The measure also would amend the original ordinance that established the district and allow the mayor or public service director to enter economic incentive agreements.
The innovation district’s board of directors would also be changed to an advisory, rather than managerial, board. It would consist of: The mayor or his designee, a council member, a technology-oriented business representative, a banking representative, a Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce representative, a Stark Community Foundation representative, a Stark Economic Development Board representative, and four members to be appointed by the board.
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