Centennial Plaza open to the public
The construction fence around Centennial Plaza will come down Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020.
“That morning, the crew will be out there disassembling it, so by that afternoon, it will be open to everyone in the area,” said Donn Angus, the city planning director.
Overall, Angus said, he’s “tickled” with the final product.
Canton broke ground in August 2019 on the $12.3 million plaza, primarily funded by city tax revenue along with a $1.5 million state grant and $2.5 million in private donations. Officials aimed for completion by the NFL Centennial Celebration in September but that was postponed to 2021 because of the pandemic.
MKSK, a Columbus-based firm, designed the football-themed space, and Dunlop & Johnston Inc. was the general contractor. Members of Ironworkers Local 550, working with Selinsky Force and Barnhart Crane & Rigging, installed the approximately 80-foot tall stainless steel arches in September.
Centennial Plaza is essentially done, Angus said, and its opening was scheduled based on workers’ availability for the fence removal. The installation of security cameras also took longer than expected and slightly delayed the plaza’s opening.
All that remains are “finishing touches” to the cafe by Jerzee’s All American Sports Grille, which is expected to open March 1, and a glass donor wall behind the stage, which should be placed in early January.
“The Hall of Fame has been taking the reins of the programming, maintenance and operations of the plaza,” Angus said, as per a contract with the city.
However, limitations on gatherings because of COVID-19 put most of the public programming — such as movie nights and concerts — on hold.
The video screen currently shows local content, such as information about the plaza’s construction, downtown restaurants and the upcoming Illumination displays. Starting on First Friday, the plaza will put on a five-minute light show at 15-minute intervals.
There’s also a Canton sign for photo opportunities, monuments recognizing NFL players and fire pits, which will be lit only during special events — at least until the restaurant staff provides a consistent presence for safety.
“It’s really just a public space for people to utilize until we can hold true events,” Angus said.