Tag Archives: Downtown Akron

500 Plates

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Story by Joanna Wilson (Courtesy of the Akron Empire)

 

The event on Sunday was one effort–among many–to extend the awareness and discussion about the upcoming closing of Akron’s Innerbelt (Rt. 59) and re-imagine the space for the betterment of our city.

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Commerce Center Park Downtown Gets Makeover

Residents spent their lunch hour cleaning up Commerce Center Park in downtown Akron Thursday. (Photo: Yoly Glez M. Heisler)

Residents spent their lunch hour cleaning up Commerce Center Park in downtown Akron  (Photo: Yoly Glez M. Heisler)

 

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Commerce Center Park, which offers a small break of nature in the middle of downtown Akron, received a much-needed facelift Thursday, thanks to a group of community volunteers. Located just south of the United One Building and next to the Main Library — with two regal columns, a small gate and courtyard —  this park likely goes unnoticed by motorists every day, but is an important element of the downtown Akron landscape.

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Community Activists Using Design for Sustainable Improvements

Gains1Community organizer Beth Vild shares some sustainable ideas picked up from her recent trip to Portland at last week’s Greater Akron Innovation Network for Sustainability (GAINS) meeting.
(Photo: Svetla Morrison)

 

Story by Connie Williams

 

Many Akron residents are working diligently toward a sustainable community, but the tools we need could already be around us, with potential ideas like front-yard gardens and edible landscapes to help sustain healthy neighborhoods.

At last week’s Greater Akron Innovation Network for Sustainability (GAINS) meeting at Uncorked Wine Bar in the Musica Complex on Market Street, community activists Beth Vild and Jessica Myers focused on their recent trip to Portland, Ore., for City Repair’s 15th annual Village Building Convergence.

City Repair is an organization that uses urban permaculture, civic engagement and placemaking to foster cooperation and interaction within the community. Permaculture is a way to garden and landscape that takes advantage of natural elements and meets all the needs of its inhabitants.

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South Street Coffee House Provides Sanctuary for the Hopeless

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Story by Chris Miller, The Akronist

Along this rough stretch of South Street, hope can be an elusive commodity, something just out of reach from the more destitute Akron residents. But at the Hope Cafe, the doors are always open to anyone, regardless of where they come from. Operated by the Akron Bible Church, this small coffee house hosts free meals, AA meetings and Bible studies, among other services for residents to whom many have turned their backs.

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Maps to Help You Understand Akron’s Neighborhoods – Urban Places

Story By Jason Segedy

TreeMy street, located in Akron’s west-side Wallhaven neighborhood

 

Akron: A City of Neighborhoods

I have written before about the importance of rejecting false choices when it comes to discussing our places.

Most urban places are large and diverse enough that they cannot be easily pigeonholed or painted with an overly broad-brush.

Is Akron getting better or getting worse?  The answer, of course, is “both”, or “neither”, or “it depends”.  And what it depends upon is which neighborhoods we are talking about.

Akron, like all larger cities, is full of a wondrous array of people, places, and things. It is at the neighborhood level that its diversity becomes most apparent.

The great American writer E.B. White penned one of my favorite descriptions of the way that the ultimate city (New York) functions as a series of small places, rather than as one large place:

The oft-quoted thumbnail sketch of New York is, of course: “It’s a wonderful place, but I’d hate to live there.”  I have an idea that people from villages and small towns, people accustomed to the convenience and friendliness of neighborhood over-the-fence living, are unaware that life in New York follows the neighborhood pattern. The city is literally a composite of tens of thousands of tiny neighborhood units…Each area is a city within a city within a city…So complete is each neighborhood, and so strong is the sense of neighborhood, that many a New Yorker spends a lifetime within the confines of an area smaller than a country village. Let him walk two blocks from his corner and he is in a strange land and will feel uneasy till he gets back.

E.B. White – Here Is New York

While Akron is far smaller than New York, its neighborhoods still contain considerable variety in terms of history, culture, socioeconomic characteristics, and the built environment.

The city contains neighborhoods that were built in the 1920s, where every fourth house today is vacant, and the median sales price is below $50,000; and it contains neighborhoods where houses built during that same time period regularly sell for $500,000.

The city is home to neighborhoods where upwards of 75% of the residents are college-educated, and it contains other neighborhoods where less than 50% of the residents have graduated from high school.

My purpose in writing this post is to give the reader a sense of the rich cultural and socioeconomic diversity that can be found here.

In the first section of the post, I give a general overview of Akron’s 20 primary neighborhoods, dividing them into seven general categories.

In the second section of the post, I present a variety of socio-economic data for 210 secondary neighborhoods, in order to illustrate what our neighborhoods look like and who lives in them.

PART I:  SEVEN TYPES OF NEIGHBORHOODS

“Urban Core” Neighborhoods

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Two neighborhoods (Downtown and University Park) – form the urban core of the city.  Both of these neighborhoods are located on or near the original site of the City of Akron, which was established in 1825, and expanded primarily toward the south and east until around 1890.

Today, these neighborhoods form the commercial, cultural, and government center of the city.  They have gone through a dramatic transformation over the past 60 years, as many of the original buildings and houses have been torn down and much of the street grid has been altered beyond recognition.

“Formerly Independent Place” Neighborhoods

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Three neighborhoods (Middlebury, Kenmore, and Ellet) once existed as independent cities and towns.  Middlebury, the oldest of the three, was established in 1822, and actually predates Akron itself.  It was annexed by the City of Akron in 1872.  Today it suffers from widespread vacancy, and is one of the lowest-income neighborhoods in the city.

Kenmore and Ellet developed as outlying “streetcar suburbs” and were both annexed by the City of Akron in 1929.  They were both settled heavily by Appalachian whites (primarily from West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee) that moved to the city to work in the rubber and tire industry.

Both neighborhoods maintain a strong identity up through the present day, and when residents are asked where they live by someone from out of town, they are as likely to reply “Kenmore” or “Ellet” as they are to say “Akron”.

To read the rest of this story go to:  January 9, 2015 post in  Notes from the Underground   thestile1972.tumblr.com/   or Follow Jason Segedy on
Twitter thestile1972