Square is a site at the corner of Market aned Easton that
formerly resided within Plain Township which was the location
of the Hoover family's original 1800's farm, and company
recreational facility, Hoover Park. Also on the site is
a company-owned Historical Center, and a number of original
farm buildings, preserved in period style.
In the early 1990's Hoover and its parent corporation, Maytag,
determined that many of the Hoover land holdings would never
be needed for expansion, and a number of the old farm plots
were sold of, including a sizeable portion of this location.
The original 1994 development plan for the 250 acre plot
was a sizeable retail facility, which came to be known as
the Maytag Mall.
A number of area citizens concerned about a number of issues,
including decreased property values, increased traffic and
infrastructural problems organized RAMM (Residents Against
Maytag Mall) in 1994 to formally oppose the existing plan.
RAMM made itself highly visible at township and North Canton
City council meetings as an ardent voice against the development,
which created strong opinions in the otherwise conservative
with the possibility of a divided community and possible
ill will towards future development projects in the North
Canton area, the developers, the Hoover Corporation, and
the City of North Canton created an alternative plan. The
new development included the annexation of the land into
the city, and would consist of a planned urban development
(PUD) consisting of a smaller 22 acre retail complex, 85
acres of housing and office space, 50 acres donated to Walshe
University, and 75 as a reserved park for the city of North
Canton. In addition the 250 year old Bur Oak on the Eastern
part of the grounds would be preserved. The original Hoover
farmhouse would be moved nearly 100 yards, and the Hoover
Park facility would remain.
The measure was placed on a referendum and recieved 78%
of the popular vote.
Washington Square is an example where community activism
succeeded in creating positive change in the shaping of
a community. However, It also eliminated some of the innocence
from the area, as there is an informal policy for city employees
not comment on political matters, members on both sides
reported that there were threats to their well-being during
the process, and that one of the developers now has a full-time
the farm house, technical difficulties were encountered,
and it was no longer eligible for inclusion in the national
registry of historical lnndmarks.
project is also one of Stark County's first examples of
a Planned Urban Development, consisting of integrated business,
residential, and recreational/open areas. PUD's are currently
considered to be one of the more responsible methods of
development, and area realtors hold this plan of development
as one they hope to rely on more in the future.
However, Washingotn Square seems to be one of the few instances
of PUD's in Stark County, although they have proved to be
highly desirable in other parts of the nation. Being that
development is driven largely by the free market in Stark
County, the lack of these developments can be attributed
by a lack of offerings by developers and a lack of demand
or awareness by consumers.