Earthmoving equipment clears Skyland Pines for future warehouse
TOWNSHIP – The scenery changes at the old Skyland Pines golf course, and the neighbors are disappointed.
Heavy machinery has been moving dirt on the golf course since early September, after the final rounds were played on Labor Day.
Plans call for the construction of a 1 million square foot warehouse. Although the occupant of the building has not been identified, rumors have persisted since spring that online retail giant Amazon will use the facility.
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“That’s not what you want to see happen,” said Dakota Maierhofer, an Oakridge Drive NE resident who grew up in a house that borders the Skyland Pines driving range. He loved watching the colorful sunsets over the open expanse of the golf course.
The change is sad, but Maierhofer said he studied finance in college and understood. “At the same time, it’s business. It’s what’s happening.”
The next door neighbor, Dale Schmucker, has not mince words about the project. “I am not happy.”
Schmucker and his wife bought the Oakridge residence five years ago. It was a good place to retire, he says. A quiet neighborhood with a golf course in the backyard.
Now a massive warehouse will be seen from the back yard. Schmucker wonders what could happen to the value of his property.
Who will use the new large warehouse in Canton?
Speculation about the future of Skyland Pines began in the spring when the golf course requested a zoning change.
When the zoning change was granted, course owner Steve DiPietro said the change was to better position the property should an opportunity arise. This opportunity presented itself in the middle of the summer, when DiPietro recognized that the course would end after Labor Day.
In July, plans for a giant warehouse – called Project Fore – on the site were filed with the township’s Construction Department.
However, nothing filed with the city identifies Amazon as being involved in the project.
Panattoni Development Co., based in Newport Beach, Calif., Submitted the plans, while Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, based in New Jersey, created the drawings. Ford & Associates Architects, based in Columbus, is identified as a “consultant” for Panattoni.
All three companies, on their websites, list Amazon as a customer.
Last Amazon connection to the old Skyland site
A banner hanging from the former Skyland Pines clubhouse indicates that Clayco – a St. Louis-based architecture, design and construction firm – is managing the project.
Construction workers refused to speak with The Canton Repository.
The company’s website lists 20 projects that Clayco manages for Amazon.
The Skyland Pines project is not on the list, but warehouses in Cleveland and Etna, Ohio are mentioned. The architect of the Etna project is Ford & Associates, according to the website.
“Everything is so secret”
Neighbors have heard the rumors and are still waiting for answers.
Gary and Bonnie Walter, who live on Kirby Avenue NE, across from Skyland Pines, wonder why an official announcement took so long.
They know there is a warehouse planned, and although the occupant has not been announced, a name is on everyone’s list.
“Why do we need another Amazon? Bonnie Walter asked.
Schmucker said residents along Oakridge Drive NE have seen surveyors and other workers on the golf course throughout the summer. Many questioned the workers, to no avail.
“It’s all so secret. No one will tell you anything,” Schmucker said.
Like Schmucker, the Walter family are not happy with the changes coming to Skyland Pines. They have lived across from the golf course since 1979.
“We moved here because it was nice and quiet. After that, I don’t know if it’s going to be that quiet,” said Gary Walter.
Walter said he hopes truck traffic along Kirby doesn’t increase because of the warehouse. The drawings indicated that the facility will be accessible from Rebar Avenue NE, which will be diverted to Route 62.
Still, neighbors expect the facility to be noisy, with bright lights. They anticipate 24/7 activity.
One advantage for Walter: The closure of the golf course means that there are no more stray shots bouncing off the house, smashing windows and driving down the siding. But he would prefer the golf course to stay. “I’m definitely not happy with that for sure,” Walter said of the change.