Community Spotlight: Canton

What was once known as the "Sweet Corn Capital of Michigan," is now a booming community that 90,000 people call home. Canton features an ideal balance of old and new with its rich history and culture blending effortlessly with modern, state-of-the-art facilities and developments. This delightful contrast makes Canton a uniquely desirable destination for businesses, visitors and residents. Canton also has plenty to offer families at every stage of life, including housing in a variety of price ranges, exceptional schools, many nearby colleges and universities, and a 53,000 square-foot library. Add to that Canton's extraordinary quality of life, and you have one of Michigan's finest communities.

Part of that quality of life is a safe community. Canton is consistently ranked one of the nation's safest communities. That is thanks to Canton's Public Safety Department, which is recognized within the police and fire communities for its innovative and progressive philosophy of operation and leadership. Canton's Police Department is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, a highly prized recognition of law enforcement excellence.

Canton also boasts a Gold Medal-winning Leisure Services Department which oversees the 95,000 square-foot Summit on the Park Community Center, Pheasant Run and Fellows Creek Golf clubs, the Village Theater at Cherry Hill and the Canton Sports Center. Additionally, Canton features an excellent system of parks and trails, which offer a wide range of recreational amenities for residents, plus a place for families to gather for picnics and other outdoor activities.

The Plymouth-Canton School District is the fourth largest in the state and enrolls nearly 19,000 students. The district's MEAP scores are currently above the state average in every category. Canton also has two other school districts that serve a small portion of the community, as well as a variety of private and charter schools.

Canton is conveniently located between Detroit and Ann Arbor, and is just minutes away from both Detroit Metro Airport and Willow Run Airport. The community also features excellent access to major expressways such as I-275, I-94, I-96 and I-696, as well as major railways and ports. Businesses and residents enjoy the close proximity of many technical schools, colleges, and universities including the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Wayne State University and Michigan State University.

On the economic development front, Canton has recently created a full-time position dedicated to stirring up growth within the community. Canton takes a partnership approach when it comes to development. Whether a commercial, residential or industrial development, Canton's administration and staff look at a proposed project as an opportunity to work hand-in-hand with all interested parties. Canton's Liaison Team works with businesses to simplify the process of locating in the community. Professional staff meets with developers prior to their submitting site plans to communicate the community's goals and objectives.

The Board of Trustees is very business-friendly and supportive of the business community, and while the municipality has high expectations, the codes and objectives are very clear and every effort is made to assist developers through the process in a timely manner. Canton also works closely with Wayne County and the State of Michigan to determine eligibility for tax incentives which includes a financial analysis to identify which incentives are more advantageous for the company.

"I was very pleased with how Canton Township and Wayne County worked together to provide the TURBO Program, which was instrumental to the relocation/expansion in Canton of our business MSA Delivery Service," said Jerry Rozum, President, MSA Delivery Service.

Canton's Economic Development Office has developed many partnerships to help with business attraction.  One of them is with the Canton Chamber of Commerce. Both entities are currently working together on a Business Workshop Series that will give existing businesses a way to connect with valuable resources in the area and arm them with information to help them stay successful.  The Office and Chamber are also working with residents and with Canton's workforce on an Economic Development Ambassador Program. This program is designed to help Canton by asking residents and workers to promote the community when traveling around the U.S. and the world.

Some of the new businesses that have chosen to locate and expand in Canton include:

  • Howden Buffalo, a manufacturer of service fans, rotary heat exchangers, compressors, and allied products;
  • Danotek Motion Technologies, which researches, develops, tests and manufactures wind powered electrical generators and components for electric and hybrid vehicles;
  • Grupo Antolin Wayne, which produces assembled headliners for the automotive industry, was recently awarded new business assembling headliners for the Ford F-150 truck business;
  • Durcon, Inc., which manufactures science laboratory tops, expanded its Canton operation to include a post-consumer recycled glass countertop for residential applications.

With a balance of residential amenities and a world-class business environment, Canton is on the cutting edge when it comes to creating an environment for economic growth.

Kristen Thomas is a Communications Specialist for the City of Canton. Deb Bilbrey-Honsowetz, Canton's Economic Development Manager, also contributed to this piece.

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