Rodney Napier - Goes Extra Mile to Hold Place on Parade Route

Rodney Napier didn’t want to lose his family’s coveted spot along the Grand Parade route so he secured it through a property deed restriction.

Parade-goers have tried all sorts of ways over the years to secure their prime spot along the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Grand Parade route.

Most will arrive the night before armed with chairs, tents, tarps and rope to stake their spots ahead of the expected crowd of 200,000 spectators. Some have strung Christmas lights for delineation, while others have persuaded (or paid) the business owners along the 2.2-mile route for access to their sidewalks and front lawns.

Rodney Napier may have the best idea of all: He secured his family’s spot through a property deed.

Napier, a businessman and philanthropist who resides in Florida but maintains a home in Jackson Township, fell in love with the parade around the time he graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High in 1979. He first started going to the parade with his buddies, then when his three children came along, they and other friends were added to the mix, said his son Ryan Napier.

“It’s usually a big hodge-podge of whoever is in town,” said Ryan Napier, who now lives in Columbus but continues to hold a stake in some Stark County restaurants. “We’ve had as many as 50 people to a few dozen or so.”

Rather than continually jockeying for a good spot for the growing Napier clan, Rodney Napier in 1992 found a vacant lot at 1920 Cleveland Ave. NW and purchased it. In 2001, Napier decided to sell the land – now the site of the Ritzy Car Wash – but not without first securing the family’s coveted parade spot.

In the property’s deed, Napier included a provision that gives him and his heirs exclusive use of space on the property that is big enough to place a 40-foot recreational vehicle and two passenger vehicles, plus another 800 square feet, from 7 p.m. the evening before the parade through 7 p.m. on parade day.

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Release ID: 235804