To the Editor:
Richard Grover’s idea and plan is the first intelligent suggestion and/or idea I have heard for Canton’s downtown area in many years. There would still be room for 100 percent more improvement in Canton, but this certainly is a beginning. For whatever reason, no one except the people opposed to the idea can explain, Canton’s downtown area is a joke. I have worked in Canton for 30+ years and only venture downtown or “across town” when I am desperate and need to go to a specific location – which I try to keep to a minimum. The traffic is ridiculous, and if the powers that be think the pass-through traffic [drivers] even begin to entertain an idea of stopping and shopping or eating in their establishments, they are living a pipe dream. All that the heavy traffic, especially the 16-wheelers, add to the community is the deterioration of the street surfaces and more congestion in the village. In the summer Canton has one of the most impressive “country markets” in the county – but who in their right mind would venture down street on their lunch break to visit it? I know that many people do visit, but they certainly have more than one-half hour for their lunch break, or else they have the time and fortitude to walk the distance to visit and shop there. It is obvious there is no parking close by, and the congestion in the center of town is beyond comment.
The fact that a business wants to open in the village is another example of Canton’s inability to break out of their tunnel-vision mode. Instead of welcoming new businesses and visions of how to make Canton’s shopping area more accessible and inviting to people, they, whomever that entity is, continues to block any embracing of new, innovative ideas, but instead continues to hold to their out-dated idea of the ultimate utopia of the Historic Downtown Canton. Well…believe me, that image doesn’t exist to anyone else. In most people’s eyes, downtown Canton is a place to avoid, unless you live within walking distance.
If the idea of a bypass around the downtown area, and not one that interferes with the school or colleges, but a true bypass were available for people who truly don’t want to stop and shop, the Village of Canton would again become a picturesque place to shop, visit, stop and dine, wander around the outdoor market in the summer, relax and listen to the concerts in the park, and for those of us who don’t live in Canton, but work here every day, it would provide us with easy access to the banks, shops, eateries, or a walk through the village park, on our lunch break. I have never been able to understand the reasoning behind those who object to a bypass. When there are two colleges in a small village, the traffic is extreme. To add to this influx of traffic the hundreds of tractor trailers that pass through the village is ridiculous! Believe me, I have never seen anyone who resembles a tractor-trailer driver in the downtown gift shops, nor have I seen a tractor trailer parked on Main Street, Canton, so they can eat at one of the establishments, or shop at one of the stores, or even use the services of the banks…why not look at reality. If the Canton government wants a Historic Downtown Canton, with all the niceties for the people who really, truly love, live, and care about Canton, then why not take back the access and ability for the citizens of Canton to enjoy this without the huge amount of annoying traffic.
Thus to bring this back around to Richard Grover’s idea, the Village of Canton’s government has an opportunity to institute a renewal and reversal of the misuse of downtown Canton, by allowing the convenience store to locate at the corner of Main and Miner Streets, and to utilize Richard’s idea of an alternate exit point at the already established traffic light at Riverside Drive. That certainly is a no-brainer…an easy access for the traffic – the use of a traffic light instead of “diving into traffic” from a side street, and a beginning of perhaps renewal and added convenient shopping and access to other establishments in the downtown section of Canton for those of us who really want access to downtown Canton.
Thank you Richard for your insight and ideas, and hopefully a thank you to the Village Board for consideration of a way to bring downtown Canton back to a place that the residents of Canton can access and enjoy!