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Author Topic: Akron: Downtown: Development and News  (Read 1033 times)

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Offline yanni_gogolak

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Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« on: October 08, 2013, 09:28:53 AM »
Akron moving ahead with plans to improve Cascade Plaza

By Stephanie Warsmith
Beacon Journal staff writer
Published: October 7, 2013 - 10:54 PM

Planning Director John Moore said the plaza project will involve ripping off the concrete plaza, resealing the deck underneath and converting the plaza to green space, including adding plantings, benches and tables. A wall will be taken down so the plaza can be seen from Main Street.

“It should be a significant improvement,” Moore said of the work, which is expected to be completed by next summer.

http://www.ohio.com/news/local/akron-moving-ahead-with-plans-to-improve-cascade-plaza-1.435081
« Last Edit: October 08, 2013, 09:31:12 AM by yanni_gogolak »

Offline yanni_gogolak

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2014, 09:32:50 AM »
Last Saturday I happened to be Downtown when they were putting the new bridge in place from the new Akron Children's Hospital to the new Hospital they are building. Pretty interesting considering they had to twist it 90 degrees in between to existing buildings and it has to fit pretty much exactly.










Offline yanni_gogolak

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2014, 08:59:14 PM »
Canal Park getting face-lift; fans getting new seats, views, food

By Phil Trexler
Beacon Journal staff writer
Published: January 28, 2014 - 01:12 PM | Updated: January 28, 2014 - 01:36 PM

Ken Babby is continuing his transformation of Akron’s downtown minor-league baseball scene.

In the 15 months or so that he’s owned the ball club, Babby has changed the team’s name to the RubberDucks, installed a new scoreboard hailed as the best in Double-A leagues, he’s spruced up the concourses and brought a renewed interest to the 17-year-old franchise.

http://www.ohio.com/news/break-news/canal-park-getting-face-lift-fans-getting-new-seats-views-food-1.462388

Online KJP

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2014, 10:42:23 AM »
Akron developer plans to convert old tire shop into apartments, retail; warehouse is near towpath, downtown
By Stephanie Warsmith
Beacon Journal staff writer
Published: September 8, 2014 - 10:31 PM | Updated: September 9, 2014 - 08:03 AM

Akron Developer Tony Troppe again plans to take a historic building and update it for modern uses.

This time, Troppe has his sights set on the Cascade Lofts building, a former tire shop on North Street near Howard Street and close to the towpath.

Akron City Council on Monday approved Troppe’s plans to convert the warehouse into a combination of loft apartments and retail. They praised Troppe, who previously restored several sites in the downtown area, including the United, Everett and Kaiser buildings and the Musica complex, for tackling another historic structure.

READ MORE AT:
http://www.ohio.com/news/local/akron-developer-plans-to-convert-old-tire-shop-into-apartments-retail-warehouse-is-near-towpath-downtown-1.520898#.VA8Pkfv6B-I.twitter
« Last Edit: September 09, 2014, 12:10:40 PM by KJP »
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Offline SquareWest

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2014, 11:11:04 AM »
I'm glad that is finally moving, he had signage up for that since he bought the building a few years ago.

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2014, 12:12:20 PM »
FirstEnergy considering new building for Akron headquarters but wants to remain downtown
By Betty Lin-Fisher
Beacon Journal staff writer
Published: December 4, 2014 - 06:17 PM | Updated: December 4, 2014 - 08:58 PM

FirstEnergy Corp. is considering a move out of its downtown Akron headquarters but would stay in the heart of the city.

City spokeswoman Stephanie York said Akron officials are aware that the electric utility might be interested in moving from 76 S. Main St.

“What we know is that FirstEnergy is coming to the end of their lease, and that their desire is to stay downtown,” York said Thursday in an email. “We are excited that they are looking to stay downtown (whether in the same building or not), just as we are energized about the increased vitality and development of downtown over the past dozen years.”

...The Akron-based parent company of Ohio Edison employs 900 at its downtown headquarters, Schneider said, and takes up all 19 floors at the current location.

Another 600 employees work at the company’s offices in West Akron off White Pond Drive.

More:
http://www.ohio.com/news/local/firstenergy-considering-new-building-for-akron-headquarters-but-wants-to-remain-downtown-1.546785
America will never be destroyed from the outside. -- Abraham Lincoln.

Offline yanni_gogolak

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2015, 02:50:35 PM »
Akron Children’s buys century-old church property near downtown campus; church might combine with Faith Lutheran in Fairlawn

By Katie Byard,Cheryl Powelland Colette Jenkins
Beacon Journal staff writers

Published: January 14, 2015 - 10:49 AM | Updated: January 15, 2015 - 02:11 PM

 Akron Children’s Hospital recently bought a century-old church building at the corner of Bowery and Cedar streets as part of future plans to expand its downtown campus.

The hospital paid $750,000 to St. John/St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church for the building at 282 W. Bowery St. in a deal that closed last week, according to tax records.

http://www.ohio.com/news/break-news/akron-children-s-buys-century-old-church-property-near-downtown-campus-church-might-combine-with-faith-lutheran-in-fairlawn-1.558320

Online surfohio

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2015, 02:58:33 PM »
^ Happy 100th birthday, beautiful church. And good luck....

Offline yanni_gogolak

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2015, 12:14:51 PM »
Downtown Akron may get another hotel; proposal for United Building gets tax credit
By Katie Byard Published: June 30, 2015

 Another hotel may be in the works for downtown Akron.

The state has awarded an Ohio Historic Preservation tax credit to a $11.9 million project that would turn the eight-story United Building into a boutique hotel.

The tax credits are designed to spur rehabilitation of historic properties. The state granted a credit valued at roughly $1 million to the United Building project.

http://www.ohio.com/blogs/your-business/your-business-1.567844/downtown-akron-may-get-another-hotel-proposal-for-united-building-gets-tax-credit-1.604406

Online KJP

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2015, 08:29:32 PM »
Summary of recent developments and challenges....

Neighborhoods around downtown Akron still blighted, after millions invested downtown: Post Plusquellic
By John Harper, Northeast Ohio Media Group
on August 28, 2015 at 8:30 AM, updated August 28, 2015 at 8:35 AM

AKRON, Ohio – Neighborhoods near downtown Akron are struggling more than anywhere else in the city, even after former mayor Don Plusquellic's administration spent hundreds of millions sprucing up the city's core.

Akron received a glowing report in a recent Western Reserve Land Conservancy survey of vacant homes and properties, with one glaring exception: neighborhoods near downtown.

Akron's neighborhoods are by no means in perfect shape, the report found, but are far better off than counterparts in other Midwestern cities, in part because the city has aggressively bulldozed many offending properties.

"We were really surprised, Akron was in amazingly good shape," said Jim Rokakis, president of the land conservancy. "The entire city had fewer vacancies than one service area in Cleveland."

But near downtown, where hundreds of millions of dollars were poured into revitalization projects under former Mayor Don Plusquellic, housing stock continues to languish as it did 55 years ago.

MORE:
http://www.cleveland.com/akron/index.ssf/2015/08/akrons_persistent_housing_prob.html
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Offline Gramarye

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2015, 11:56:53 AM »
Not to state the obvious, but the quality of the housing stock in many of those areas nearer Downtown Akron was simply poorer to begin with.  You cannot make the East End or Lane-Wooster into Tremont or Ohio City, because the built environment there is simply completely different.

Also, I don't know of any Cleveland neighborhood (Cleveland proper, that is) that would compare to Fairlawn Heights, the Merriman-Portage corridor, or the better parts of the Will Christy Park neighborhood.  Those are deep grey but otherwise reasonably stable neighborhoods, but they're also closer to the edges of the city.  More affordable neighborhoods near those (Wallhaven, Castle Park, Highland Square) are large enough and affordable enough to absorb basically all younger urban pioneers that Akron has been able to attract or retain, so there has been basically no redevelopment pressure on the really poor neighborhoods closer to downtown (though I'm not sure where the "hundreds of millions" stat comes from--that raises a caution flag in my brain).

Offline yanni_gogolak

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2015, 09:59:34 AM »
What a horrible article. This is like saying crime an dilapidated housing still exist in East Cleveland even after all of the hundred of millions put into University Circle.

Offline SquareWest

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2015, 09:53:42 AM »
Not to state the obvious, but the quality of the housing stock in many of those areas nearer Downtown Akron was simply poorer to begin with.  You cannot make the East End or Lane-Wooster into Tremont or Ohio City, because the built environment there is simply completely different.

What?  Tremont is filled with low cost houses that were built for factory workers.  How is that any different than... low cost houses built for factory workers?  Other than being in the shadow of a steel mill vs. the shadow of a tire factory, I don't see much difference other than Akron bulldozed almost all of the commercial infrastructure in those neighborhoods.

The reality is Akron destroyed the neighborhoods ringing Downtown and haven't left much to work with.  The Innerbelt decimated the near west side, "urban renewal" completely leveled the Howard Street corridor on the north side, and 77/76 and the Interchange cut off the south side.  The University and the city have done an efficient job at removing the original fabric of the east side.

One could point to West Hill as a neighborhood that has some nice housing stock and hasn't completely disintegrated.  It's in the shadow of downtown.  It's just missing the commercial component.

"I put a clock on the outside, to tell people it's time for downtown," Troppe said.

That quote made the whole article worthwhile.

In the argument about Cleveland's nearby neighborhoods being better, is Ohio City really any closer than Highland Square?  And I don't see the area around CSU doing any better than the area around UA unless you count massive low income housing developments.  South of downtown Cleveland rolls into Slavic Village which isn't exactly a hotspot.

So really what they are saying is that directly to the west of downtown Cleveland there is neighborhood revitalization.

I've read the authors other articles about Akron and it appears he writes from an outsiders perspective.

Online KJP

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2015, 11:32:39 AM »
Filling Akron business district's streets and cafes starts with filling empty buildings
September 27, 2015 UPDATED 2 DAYS AGO

By JUDY STRINGER
If it sounds cliché to say “Akron is at a crossroads,” try this one on for size: “If you build it, they will come.”

No, the latter is no less trite, but it does appear that the Rubber City is in a position where – with the right set of visionaries, developers and financers – the reclamation of empty or underutilized properties could very well reposition the downtown district as vibrant place to – forgive this last cliché – “live, work and play.”

Overall, office-space vacancy in Akron’s central business district hovers somewhere between 12% and 20%, depending on who’s doing the tracking. The city’s economic development office and the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce peg vacancies at around 12%. Real estate advisory firm CBRE quotes a more conservative 20.5%.

MORE:
http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20150927/NEWS/150919867/filling-akron-business-districts-streets-and-cafes-starts-with
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Offline jeremyck01

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2015, 08:27:58 PM »
^Great article. I've  often wondered why Akron hasn't seemed to learn lessons from the redevelopment boom that's hit certain Cleveland neighborhoods. Downtown Akron has great bones and could be a very attractive place to live. In my dreams there would be a streetcar connecting Highland Square to downtown and looping around the University. In my wildest dreams.

Online surfohio

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2015, 01:40:06 AM »
Ran into an old friend on a flight the other day. As a consultant, she was instrumental in getting the food truck scene up and running in Cleveland and in Portland, where she now resides. Anyhow, at one point in our catching-up conversation she expressed displeasure that after ten years the city of Akron still had food truck regulations "under review process."


Offline yanni_gogolak

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2015, 02:17:45 PM »
Ran into an old friend on a flight the other day. As a consultant, she was instrumental in getting the food truck scene up and running in Cleveland and in Portland, where she now resides. Anyhow, at one point in our catching-up conversation she expressed displeasure that after ten years the city of Akron still had food truck regulations "under review process."



I think I read some history about her a few years back when the food truck issues started to arise.
At any rate, I'm not sure what is under review. They have regulations in place and there is a yearly registration fee. I think it's at least $1,000 and trucks are not allowed to be parked on public property.

Offline yanni_gogolak

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2015, 09:30:05 AM »

Basically, this regulatory scheme is designed to ban food trucks in Akron without coming right out and saying so.

You're dead on. Basically the City and other "interests" have taken the approach that food trucks are bad news for other restaurants instead of letting the market determine what good and bad food is.

Offline yanni_gogolak

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2015, 09:31:44 AM »
Filling Akron business district's streets and cafes starts with filling empty buildings
September 27, 2015 Updated 21 hours ago
By JUDY STRINGER

Overall, office-space vacancy in Akron’s central business district hovers somewhere between 12% and 20%, depending on who’s doing the tracking. The city’s economic development office and the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce peg vacancies at around 12%. Real estate advisory firm CBRE quotes a more conservative 20.5%.

Either way, Akron appears to be keeping pace with the thriving office markets of Cleveland, which has about 18% vacancy, and Columbus, with about 15% vacancies and the built-in economic advantage of housing the state government, according to CBRE.

http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20150927/NEWS/150919867/filling-akron-business-districts-streets-and-cafes-starts-with#utm_medium=email&utm_source=ccl-akronmorning&utm_campaign=ccl-akronmorning-20150929



Fluff piece. Either way, I thought the Cleveland vacancy rate was more like 8%...anyone?
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 09:33:23 AM by yanni_gogolak »

Offline jeremyck01

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2015, 06:45:45 PM »
^KJP posted that article a few days ago. It's a bit fluffy, but still informative as it shows city leaders are well aware of what needs to happen with these vacant buildings on Main Street. It's been so long since any movement, I was beginning to wonder if anyone in city government was doing anything or aware of anything regarding these spaces. I would love to see more residential in downtown Akron, and rehabbing buildings is the best way to get it.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 06:46:40 PM by jeremyck01 »

Offline yanni_gogolak

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2015, 08:03:32 AM »
^KJP posted that article a few days ago. It's a bit fluffy, but still informative as it shows city leaders are well aware of what needs to happen with these vacant buildings on Main Street. It's been so long since any movement, I was beginning to wonder if anyone in city government was doing anything or aware of anything regarding these spaces. I would love to see more residential in downtown Akron, and rehabbing buildings is the best way to get it.
The City knows what it needs, but is too scared to take anything away from anybody who has been sitting on these properties.

Offline Vince_908

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2015, 09:02:49 AM »
For a city of its size and despite its many attributes, Akron is remarkably lacking in liveliness.

Offline yanni_gogolak

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2015, 03:39:08 PM »
For a city of its size and despite its many attributes, Akron is remarkably lacking in liveliness.
It's too convenient to get anywhere by car and nobody has taken any big chances downtown like MRN or The Bingham project, unless you count the Northside Lofts which were planned and built during the market crash.

Offline audidave

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2015, 04:16:53 PM »
There are bits and pieces of housing sprinkled throughout downtown. It just isn't providing density. Sounds like there could be some movement all around Cascade plaza. Obviously with the Landmark building there is some plan to get that moving now that i think the asbestos abatement is done.  I wouldn't be surprised if there is a future project involving the former Ramada hotel and maybe another tower to get converted to residential.  This coming Sunday the ABJ will have an article regarding the need for mixed use buildings downtown in one of the things they learned from Akron leaders trip to Greensville,SC.  Next week, the likely next Akron mayor is doing a walking tour downtown discussing his ideas for the inner-belt which should also include residential.  I think the city realizes now that a tiny placeholder population downtown won't cut it in what people expect for even smallish to medium sized cities.

Offline SquareWest

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2015, 08:26:41 PM »
There are bits and pieces of housing sprinkled throughout downtown. It just isn't providing density. Sounds like there could be some movement all around Cascade plaza. Obviously with the Landmark building there is some plan to get that moving now that i think the asbestos abatement is done.  I wouldn't be surprised if there is a future project involving the former Ramada hotel and maybe another tower to get converted to residential.  This coming Sunday the ABJ will have an article regarding the need for mixed use buildings downtown in one of the things they learned from Akron leaders trip to Greensville,SC.  Next week, the likely next Akron mayor is doing a walking tour downtown discussing his ideas for the inner-belt which should also include residential.  I think the city realizes now that a tiny placeholder population downtown won't cut it in what people expect for even smallish to medium sized cities.

The asbestos abatement on the Landmark has been done for quite a while, that wasn't what was holding that up.  What benefits are there to doing the City Centre hotel?  I thought historic tax credits were the leveraging point for most residential conversions.

I would be surprised if many people on that trip were not already aware of the need for mixed use and residential developments downtown.

Not to downplay the opportunity that the innerbelt presents, but I would rather seem them build on some of the many parking lots downtown first.


Offline NEOBuckeye

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2015, 10:26:14 PM »
For a city of its size and despite its many attributes, Akron is remarkably lacking in liveliness.
It's too convenient to get anywhere by car and nobody has taken any big chances downtown like MRN or The Bingham project, unless you count the Northside Lofts which were planned and built during the market crash.
After growing up and spending so much of my life in Akron, and then traveling to and living in other cities, I came to the conclusion that Akron, for whatever reason, just never quite developed--or at least was never able to sustain--the cultural depth and resiliency in its neighborhoods that we see in larger cities like Cleveland and Pittsburgh. I suspect it much it has to do with the fact that Akron is a "satellite city" to Cleveland within the region, something that is becoming increasingly evident with consolidations like the board of realtors, and the purchase/takeover of Akron General by the Cleveland Clinic, with a strong bias towards consolidation of operations in Cleveland. Cleveland is where the vast majority of the action takes place these days in NE Ohio.

It would probably be fairer to compare Akron with Toledo and Dayton, cities that are of similar population size and outlook, and that also increasingly function as satellites of the principal cities within their respective regions (Toledo < Detroit; Dayton < Cincinnati). Dayton and Toledo aren't exactly known for having lively, vibrant communities/entertainment districts either. Liveliness may be an attribute most often found in the principal regional hub, something that can easily be said for Cincy, and even Detroit. Much less so for satellites like Dayton and Toledo.

We've got Downtown, Highland Square, and I guess the Merriman Valley somewhat. If Akron were thriving, maybe there would be a few more places, like East End on East Market and Middlebury (East Market/East Exchange/Arlington) that would be seeing investment to make them lively spots as well. For now, I think the city's key focus should be on attracting more residential development to Downtown and the neighborhoods immediately surrounding it. Start with strengthening the core, making it strong and vibrant, and then work your way out of it again.

Offline Gramarye

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2015, 09:00:27 AM »
Maybe it's simply familiarity breeding contempt, but Akron just seems to have a knack for self-inflicted wounds.  The food truck regulations I posted above are just emblematic of the mentality of local government leaders here.  Anything new is more likely to be perceived as threatening than exciting.

However, in fairness, one of Akron's major costs of doing business/costs of living has been taken out of its control.  Because of a draconian EPA mandate that even the Democratic city administration of Don Plusquellic fought bitterly (and I really do mean bitterly), Akron's water and sewer rates are absolutely stratospheric.  The former mayor called them "unconscionable."  Many of the candidates for his seat made the rates central to their campaigns, knowing how large a source of pain for the city's poorer residents they are.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2015, 09:00:49 AM by Gramarye »

Online surfohio

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2015, 10:51:50 AM »
I don't want to make this an Akron punching bag thread, but I came to @NEOBuckeye's conclusion years ago.

Build Canal Park +
Then tear down most of Oneal's Building -
U of A renovates Polsky +
U of A closes off the bulding to Main St. -
Renovate historic building into Jillians +
Immediately tear it down for cookie cutter dorms -
Build Infocision Stadium on campus +
Virtually no spinoff development takes place -

Now I love the little section of downtown with Musica and the beautiful Art Museum of course, and the library 2.0. But the thing with Akron, to me is, it's always one step forward, one step back. Like there's never enough traction. It's very frustrating.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2015, 10:52:33 AM by surfohio »

Offline NEOBuckeye

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2015, 10:56:47 AM »
The food truck restrictions in Akron are just downright small-minded and asinine. Even suburbs like Fairlawn and bass-akwards Norton of all places can see and grasp their benefit, and they are typically the places most resistant to such trends.

Plusquellic hit a lot of nails squarely on the head, but he was way off the mark on this one. Maybe Horrigan will have a different take on them?

It's receptivity and an anti-red tape to creative, entrepreneurial trends hitting cities now like Food Trucks that really go a long way towards supporting vibrancy and a stronger social fabric through engagement.

Offline NEOBuckeye

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Re: Akron: Downtown: Development and News
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2015, 11:02:53 AM »
@surfohio I wish we could take the corner of Downtown with Musica, the Art Museum, etc., connect it better with Northside and expand it all into a full-blown arts district with a mix of the old and new--renovated buildings along with mixed-use complexes with ground floor retail, residential and office units. This is the sort of grand-scale, bigger picture development that Akron has sorely been lacking.