No black contractors on Football Hall of Fame project, according to Black Contractors Group

Group said no black contractors on Canton project
Posted at 11:28 PM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-12 23:28:26-04

Norman Edwards, executive director of the Black Contractors Group, claims there are currently no black contractors working on the massive $700 million Hall of Fame Village project in Canton.

Edwards told News 5 the project is already 15 percent complete, but so far, he believes there is not one black contractor or any black tradespeople involved in the construction of the complex.

He thinks Canton city leaders need to do more in getting minorities involved with the project.

"The blacks and the minorities don't even exist, but the City of Canton has a 24% black population and about 6% of other minorities," Edwards said. "Those are tax dollars being used in Canton, state tax dollars being used in Canton, and it's just not right that there aren't any black contractors involved."

Fonda Williams, Canton's deputy mayor, paints a different picture and said his city has been actively recruiting black contractor since the beginning.

Williams said Canton has been involved with black contractors through match making events, and has been assembling small bid packages, so that minority contractors with smaller bond capacity can get involved.

Williams said Canton is also working the Stark County Minority Business Association.

Still, Edwards is now calling for a boycott of the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 3, and said some 2,000 people with 30 organization are already on-board for a protest.

Edwards said his group has also contacted the commissioner of the NFL, and is reaching out to former NFL players hoping is will get black contractors hired onto the project.

Williams said he will soon meet with the Black Contractors Group to try and get minority contractors involved.