Canfield officials aim to make city better
By William K. Alcorn
Canfield is in very good shape, but the goal is to make it even better, city officials said.
“The future for Canfield is very bright,” first-term Mayor Richard A. Duffett said at the third annual State of the City town-hall meeting Thursday in Canfield High School auditorium.
The event, attended by about 150 people, was billed as an opportunity to meet city council members and get updated on the current state of the city and plans for its future.
In the works are a master plan to attract new businesses to Canfield and development of the city-owned 300-acre Red Gate Farm at U.S. Route 224 and South Palmyra Road.
“There are a lot of opinions and discussion, and we’re doing a lot of work,” the mayor said in starting the meeting. He noted the city has changed over the past two decades.
The population increased by about 2,000 between 1990 and 2000, and during that time the annual budget increased from $1.2 million to $2.4 million.
But between 2000 and 2018, the population was steady, he said.
“Now that we have plateaued, will we be able to maintain services and the city’s charm,” Duffett said.
He said the city plans to increase economic development, increase activities on the Canfield Green to draw people to the city and support its downtown merchants.
Future plans involve aggressively abating nuisances; utilizing technology for city services; systematically replacing equipment, such as fire and police department vehicles; and updating infrastructure, such as roads.
Major goals are open and transparent communication with the community, analysis-based decisions and effective and efficient management, said Wade Calhoun, city manager.
“All department directors have open-door policies,” Calhoun said.
“We’re developing a comprehensive 10-year plan to provide a path for the future,” said Calhoun, who was picked from 50 candidates for the city manager post.
“In hiring employees, we look for the best match for Canfield,” said Charles Colucci, police chief and human resources director.
Colucci said Canfield police officers are community-oriented.
They have the words Duty, Honor and Community on their arm patches, and the department provides vacation house checks and a senior watch program, Colucci said.
“My challenge is to strengthen community relationships for a strong Canfield tomorrow,” said Duffett.
“We’d like to challenge citizens to get involved – to mentor future leaders and participate in the passing of the torch. Canfield is strong. We want to make it stronger,” Duffett said.