CANTON (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – A crowd standing under a cloudy sky at Market Square in downtown Canton was exposed to a bright part of the city’s future this afternoon. At 3:30 pm a ceremonial ground breaking was held for Centennial Plaza, to kick off the long anticipated construction for the exciting project.

State politicians, city officials, media members and citizens gathered to hear what was in store for the project and when it can be expected to be complete. Those in attendance were welcomed by the Director of Planning, Donn Angus who was followed by Canton Mayor Tom Bernabei and President and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, David Baker who both gave speeches, expressing their excitement for what is to come.

The plaza, which will be located on Market Avenue North between third and fourth street and court avenue, will hold a performance stage with large video screens, a cafe, a rotunda similar to the one at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and much more. The hope of the $12.5 million project is to bring more people into downtown Canton.

“Centennial Plaza will be a central park that our community can and will take pride in,” Mayor Bernabei said. “We look forward to seeing you all next year, under sunny skies, at the centennial celebration where we can share that pride.”

The placement of the soon to be new venue is ideal for numerous local business, located right next to the arts district. Dozens of local restaurants, bars and businesses will be within walking distance of the plaza.

Mayor Bernabei said earlier this morning on Canton’s Morning News with Pam Cook that the project should be completed in just about one year’s time. He also added that while parts of 3rd and 4th street will have traffic delays, main streets like Market Avenue are not expected to suffer effects from the construction, which began yesterday.

The Hall of Fame will be in charge of the plaza’s programming for its first 10 year’s of operation. With the NFL’s 1ooth birthday taking place on September 17 of 2020 Baker says there is much to be excited about.

“There are really wonderful things happening in Canton,” Baker said. “They’re not easy, they’re not for the faint of heart, they require courage, character and sometimes some risk. But I’ll tell you, they’re happening. If you want to have some fun, you need to come to Canton Ohio.”