Construction continues around the clock in Canton to turn the Pro Football Hall of Fame into what is being dubbed the Disneyland of Football. Tuesday two project milestones, a completion and a kick off, were celebrated at once.
The wind made it a little bit hard to hear, but the choice of the hill above the Hall of Fame for the dual ceremony had to do with seeing: the last beam dropped into place for the new Tom Benson Stadium; and the first shovel turned for the four-star hotel to be on this high ground of the Hall of Fame Village.
Developer Stu Lichter says seeing how the work has progressed, and what is coming next puts a reality to the project. “We are going to do this. And whereas you start out and say I hope we did this right, we now know we did it right.”
And he says...all the research continues to show, that it’s going to succeed. “When people talk about destinations in the United States, they’ll be talking about Disneyland, Disney World, Branson, and Canton, Ohio.”
About two hundred people attended the combined topping-out and ground breaking ceremonies.
Hall of Fame President David Baker says that along with the building efforts, plans for future events are going well. “Bowl games are going to be played, the enshrinement is going to be had, and concerts are going to happen. The high school championships are coming right back here to Canton, Ohio again. And just last week we found out that the division three NCAA championships for the Alonso Stage Bowl are going to be played here in 2021 and 2022. And that’s just the beginning.”
The Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village and related development is expected to cost more than $600-million; and draw over 3-million visitors a year to northeast Ohio.