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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #60 on: January 24, 2008, 02:09:00 PM »
State Road center to be razed
Mayor says demolition could begin in October for redevelopment involving retail and housing
By Betty Lin-Fisher, Beacon Journal, Published on Thursday, Jan 24, 2008

The city of Cuyahoga Falls is buying the State Road Shopping Center and plans to raze it to redevelop the site with a mix of retail and housing.

The main plaza buildings, which many have called an eyesore for years, could be torn down as soon as October, Mayor Don Robart said.

''I can't wait to get on that bulldozer and drive the first wrecking ball into it. I have no compassion for it whatsoever,'' Robart said.

Faced with spending a considerable amount of money to defend an eminent domain lawsuit filed by the city, the owners of the deteriorating plaza reluctantly agreed to sell most of the shopping center at State Road and Portage Trail, said Timothy Grendell, attorney for State Road Associates.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2009, 10:07:34 AM by Sherman Cahal »
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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #61 on: February 13, 2008, 11:51:17 PM »
handout (383k pdf)
(02/07/08) - Thank you, Dan for that introduction and for our great partnership.
I appreciate the support of the Greater Akron Chamber in scheduling this event as well as the Akron Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs who have been hosts for 22 years, and in recent years, have been joined by the Akron Press Club.

My thanks to these organizations and their members who do so much for the life of the community each and every week of the year.

While we accomplished a great deal last year, it was also a tough year.

I did what I thought was right for the city in the early part of the year, and I paid a price for it in November.

But if any of you came here today thinking you were going to hear a version of my “swan song,” or plans to fold my tent, you may want to step out of the room now.

We have a lot of accomplishments to review, and I hope a lot more to come this year.

I always appreciate the opportunity to thank publicly some people who are really making a difference in our lives.

First, the members of Akron City Council who are with us today. They have the hardest job in politics. With us today are Jim Hurley, Renee Greene, Jim Shealey, Terry Albanese, Tina Merlitti, Bob Keith, Mike Freeman, Kelli Crawford, John Conti, President of Council Marco Sommerville, and council clerk Sherri Prough. Let me ask them to stand as a group and be recognized.

I must thank the members of my staff and cabinet who, with their years of experience, perform great service for the residents of the city every day.

In particular, I want to thank Jeff Fusco for his years of service as Deputy Service Director and my long-time scheduler Gail Fielding, both of whom have retired, although Gail is back assisting our new police auditor Phillip Young. Jeff’s replacement is Ronnie Williamson. My new scheduler is Dan Whitaker. Let me ask these 5 individuals to stand and join me in thanking them for their service.

And my personal thanks to the members of my office staff, my cabinet, and the vast majority of city employees who day in and day out, go to work with one goal — to make life better for the people of Akron. I’m very proud of all of them.

Another special recognition – I had the highest regard for County Executive Jim McCarthy and was disappointed when he announced that he was retiring. But I can tell you that Russ Pry has done a tremendous job in a short time. Without his help, and help from Governor Strickland, and especially Lt. Governor Lee Fisher, we could not alone have saved Goodyear. Our commitment is to work together to continue to make our two levels of government work even more efficiently and effectively here, and I want to thank him for that commitment.

At your places is a brochure (383k pdf) we put together each year that lists many of our accomplishments. It saves time for me not to talk about them and for you from listening to them.

We’ve also highlighted our new initiative to develop a “Greenprint” for Akron. Last August, I asked Keep Akron Beautiful to expand its mission to make our city more environmentally-friendly. The first thing we did is take stock in what we are already doing, and many people, including some from the Sierra Club were surprised at how many things we had already accomplished to help our environment.

For instance, participation in recycling has increased markedly since we automated trash pickup. Forty-eight percent of Akron households now recycle, an improvement of almost 30% in just 12 months.

When I was president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2005, I presided over the unanimous endorsement of a Climate Protection Agreement, whereby mayors commit to reduce carbon emissions in their cities to seven percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

More than 700 mayors are now committed to this goal.

Congress has taken note of the mayors’ leadership on this issue, and approved an Energy and Environment Block Grant program that when funded --- would direct almost $2 million to Akron to reduce energy dependence and promote greater energy efficiency, and Keep Akron Beautiful will help us decide how that money will best be spent.

We can keep Akron moving in the right direction if we have a vision for the future.

Five years ago from this podium, I closed my State of the City speech with a request that you sit down and take 5 minutes to write a note to a friend of ours who was having a tough time –a generous friend, trying to manage the transitions required in this new global economy. And many of you did take time to write Goodyear CEO Bob Keegan.

I’m not saying that’s what persuaded the Board of directors of Goodyear last December 5th, necessarily... but it didn’t hurt. They repaid our confidence by announcing a plan that would keep their global headquarters and North American Tire Division offices in Akron, well into this century.

This will be the biggest single development project Akron has ever seen.

When the Goodyear campus is finished, when the old Goodyear buildings are taken over and filled with new business by Stu Lichter, and when the new Eastgate lifestyle center with new retail, new commerce, and new housing is completed — the investment public and private will approach 1 billion dollars. Stu Lichter is a modern day alchemist who turns old buildings into gold. He did it at BF Goodrich and Lockheed Martin. We believe he can do it again.

I wished I could have told you about the Goodyear proposal when I stood here a year ago. But as often is the case...we were sworn to secrecy at that time. Maybe it would have helped if we could have told the people of Akron that this is how we use tax dollars to invest in new jobs. In this case, we’re not only keeping 3,000 jobs at Goodyear, but adding thousands more along East Market Street in the re-development.

One of the things I learned last year is that we haven’t done a good job of marketing the services that we are doing for the citizens of Akron. We can do a better job of letting people know about our investments to attract jobs and our success with large and small businesses. Many of you have complimented us on the CITY magazine that we publish three times each year. We’re going to use a special issue that will provide details about what we have done to attract new business and keep the jobs we already have.

Cities have been on the losing end of Washington’s tax-cutting plans that have eliminated much of the federal government’s role as a partner in development. Akron lost over $51 million in the last 10 years –money that we once received, that we now are not getting. We have kept down costs by reducing the city workforce by over 400 employees in the last 10 years. Our total general fund expenditures grew an average of less than 2% over the last 5 years, and we have kept police and fire at or nearly as possible at their budgeted strength. And I can say again, that we have not raised taxes for the operation of city government in 27 years.

But, we are increasingly challenged to make do with what we have.

In this era of rapid, unforgiving change — if the federal and state governments continue to squeeze us out of their budgets, we need to find new sources of revenue or lose the battle for jobs that is truly global in nature.

I promise you that in the coming months, we will do a better job of informing our residents how important it is that we participate in these development projects to retain the jobs we have and attract new jobs.

For many years, Bridgestone-Firestone has realized that they need the same kind of modern campus environment to attract high quality talent from around the world to work at their Akron Technical Center.

Last year, Bridgestone USA President Mark Emkes told me that they were going to build a new technical center. Either in Akron, North Carolina, or central Tennessee. The newspapers in Nashville and Murfreesboro are salivating at the possibility of adding 600 highly-paid technical jobs to their communities.

Over the last several months, Deputy Mayor Bob Bowman has been meeting with Bridgestone/ Firestone to review preliminary concepts that would address their needs. As we receive more details on the project, we will place before the company a response that will be competitive and will be in the best interests of the people of Akron.

Once again, we are working closely with Russ Pry and Governor Strickland and Lee Fisher, and we will do everything we can to keep those 600 jobs at the Technical Center in Akron.

And let me say, that unlike the 1970's when my predecessors received phone calls the morning that Goodrich, Firestone, and General announced they were moving out — I appreciate that in the cases of both Goodyear and Bridgestone Firestone, that we have been given an opportunity to assemble proposals that would retain these jobs in Akron.

During 2007, I probably spoke to almost 100 groups in Akron of one sort or another during the various campaigns, and I heard from thousands of people. They reinforced for me what I already knew — that while jobs are important, most residents are happiest when their street is in good repair, the snow is plowed, the trash is picked-up on time, clear water comes out of the tap, and when they dial 9-1-1, they get a quick and satisfactory response.

Let me assure you that service to Akron neighborhoods remains a top priority of everyone at City hall. But what’s also true, is that when we do the “ordinary” things right every day, it is seldom the subject of the news. For example, I’m especially proud of these extraordinary achievements by City employees:

Our 3-1-1 call center handled 200,000 calls for service last year, and we cleared 95% of them within a standard time.

Our automated sanitation trucks are getting good reviews in every neighborhood,

We paved dozens of streets this year, picked up tons of trash, and responded to thousands of 9-1-1 calls for service, and in surveys, our customers have indicated their satisfaction with the City response.

But I know we can do better.

Today I am announcing a new initiative that will improve our delivery of services to each and every neighborhood.

Service Director Rick Merolla will oversee a new program of Neighborhood Nuisance Patrols, that will divide the city into four sections, each with its own chief nuisance officer. The things that often bring neighborhoods down quickly are the house with a junk car in front, the yard with high weeds, or loose trash, or the zoning violations that irritate responsible homeowners to no end. We respond quickly to these complaints when citizens call them in to our 3-1-1 call center. Now, our goal is to be out in front and head them off before they get to the point of irritation. Part of this initiative will be to instruct each and every city employee who works in our neighborhoods on a regular basis to watch for nuisances and to report them. It’s the sanitation drivers who notices a pothole, or the police patrolman who sees a house in bad condition also taking responsibility. We’ll measure the time it takes us to respond, and those leading our nuisance patrols will be accountable for the condition of their area of the city.

And to be sure those residents have access to me directly to register their opinions; our CITY magazine will have a reply card addressed directly to me to collect opinions of our people.

Safety is always a top priority, and I’m happy to report that once again, Akron is the safest big city in Ohio.

We brought the police force to its full authorized strength earlier this year, and we will once again hire additional firefighters in the next several months.

I’ve announced a new policy on how often we schedule new classes for police officers so that we don’t have to go for a year under-strength while we “catch-up.”

I put into place a Police Auditor to handle public concerns about law enforcement. Phillip Young, a former Ohio State Highway patrolman has already been working to build an understanding with residents and police officials.

Crime does not recognize the city’s boundaries. That’s why more and more, I am encouraged to see collaborative initiatives between our police department and the Summit County sheriff. I have had numerous discussions with Sheriff Alexander, and his new chief assistant Garry Moneypenney, on how we can work together even more closely. You’ll hear more about that later this year.

With U.S. Marshall Pete Elliot, we had a successful Fugitive safe-surrender at an Akron church.

The Gun buy-back program was another example of how we work with faith-based organizations to provide for safer neighborhoods.

We are using grants of more than $1 million to go after gang and drug activities in collaboration with the Sheriff and other law enforcement agencies. Homicides were down last year, but half of all murders last year were related in some way to gangs. The University of Akron is assisting police in creating a system for Intelligence-Led-Policing. And we will fortify programs at the East Akron Phoenix School aimed at gang intervention and prevention while we expand the targeted sweeps of “hot spots” this year.

A second grant will enable Akron police to continue its work with other agencies and jurisdictions to support the city's successful strategy to target will help rid the city of meth labs.

But when we talk about our neighborhoods, the condition of our housing stock and safety, there is another blighting influence that cannot be ignored. And that is the “hit” that every city has taken in the last year or so as Wall Street greed overcame good sense, and driven homeowners who were sub-prime borrowers into foreclosures. It is a national crisis.

This is an area that the state has pre-empted local communities from regulating this business. I’ve joined with other mayors to measures to urge Congress to put some teeth into their regulations of the mortgage industry.

I’m pleased to tell you that there are some creative local solutions, and I am announcing today that Akron has reached agreement with the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America to establish an office in Akron to provide immediate relief for oppressed homeowners facing the potential loss of their homes. NACA is helping thousands of homeowners who faced foreclosure by re-negotiating their mortgages, with payments they can afford over the long term. NACA offers real solutions that give real hope.

I learned about the outstanding work being done by NACA and its founder Bruce Marks through my association with the Conference of Mayors.

He persuaded the nation's biggest mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial, to let NACA restructure Countrywide's bad sub-prime loans. And now other big-name banks appear poised to follow Countrywide's lead, including Chase and Wells-Fargo.

I have offered NACA the office space and computers it will need in one of our neighborhood centers, so that they can be up and running as quickly as possible. Russ Pry and I have discussed how we can work together with Summit County’s Consumer Affairs Department as part of this initiative to preserve home ownership countywide.

We are also hopeful about the new housing opportunities that we are helping to create: The Hope VI project on Vernon Odom Boulevard is replacing the old Edgewood home projects. AMHA has demolished the old structures, and will completely rebuild 200 new homes, including subsidized rentals and single family market rate homes. 17 homes should be ready this Spring.

We’ve seen the success at the old Elizabeth Park where the new Cascade Village has risen in its place, thanks to the determination of Tony O’Leary at AMHA. We also have new housing coming on Howard Street at Northside, and Phil Maynard has broken ground for his Spicer Village condominiums, now under construction in University Park.

Our neighborhoods will be better if the people who live there feel more of a bond with their neighbors. I became aware of a program called “Neighbors Day,” celebrated in France,. Germany, England and other countries each May.

I asked our staff to put this program together, and thousands of Akron residents answered my call to get to know their neighbors during the first Neighbors Day celebration held last Memorial Day weekend.

Residents throughout Akron invited people on their block to share ideas and safety concerns while enjoying games, food and refreshment. In many neighborhoods, small groups of neighbors chatted in front yards and on driveways. Most used the opportunity to discuss neighborhood issues. Food was a part of most celebrations.

Our second annual Neighbors Day will be Saturday, May 24. It can be as simple as a walk next door or across the street to invite neighbors to join you for a cup of coffee — and learn their names and what concerns they share. And being the eyes and ears of the police in our neighborhoods.

We can keep Akron moving in the right direction if we have a vision for the future and strengthen our neighborhoods.

Eighteen months ago, I identified 500-plus acres of land partially surrounding Downtown as The Akron Biomedical Corridor.

Inside the boomerang-shaped boundaries are the Hospitals that are our most promising engine for economic development. The three hospitals employ over 11,000 people including some 1,000 physicians. Combined, the three hospital systems attract more than 1.5 million outpatient visits each year and almost 80,000 patient admissions. This places Akron’s combined total ahead of the Cleveland Clinic.

We are now poised to see major development in the corridor. A principal reason is the strong partnership of the University of Akron and possibly, NEOUCOM --the Northeast Ohio Universities College of Medicine.

We hope to establish an Orthopaedic Research Institute that will do exactly what we had hoped –bring together our hospital strengths - in this case, musculoskeletal biology – with our expertise in polymers and bio-materials, to create a new research center and ultimately, new jobs.

This Spring or Summer, a new medical facility, a long-term acute care hospital that is jointly supported by Akron General and Summa will open on East Market Street, offering 60 patient beds. I commend them both for working together in the best interests of our citizens, and will be encouraging them to join together in future projects as well.

And this helps nurture two other initiatives that I have told you about in recent years.

Last year, our Israeli-based partnership the Targetech Innovation Center accepted five new projects. 144 applied. We now have 7 Israeli companies in our portfolio, many of which are biomedical-related.

My thanks to Joe Kanfer of GoJo, who is on the board and is one of the founders of this project.

The expanded Akron Global Business Accelerator located in the old Building 5 of the B.F. Goodrich Tire & Rubber Company complex is home to 35 companies and 142 employees. Twelve new high-tech early stage firms entered the Accelerator within the last year. Importantly, we have entered into an agreement with Akron General medical Center to foster medical innovation at the Accelerator. They are looking at creating a center of excellence in advanced wound care.

Accelerator companies have attracted over $16 million in new investment capital this past year. There are seven companies working on biomedical projects including Spine Matrix, which does advanced imaging to diagnose back pain; a healthcare software company, a firm that designs and manufactures medical equipment; plus others including Therics, which develops and manufactures synthetic bones.

I’m proud of the work that Mike LeHere has done there over 20+ years, graduating 64 companies who have moved out of the incubator/accelerator and now employ almost 800 people in the region.

As part of the Biomedical District, I am today proposing that we begin planning for another incubator – a biomedical incubator – to provide jobs at new companies growing out of the research and development efforts within the Biomedical Corridor.

Last year, I was able to tell you at this speech that Sterling Jewelers would keep its headquarters here along with its 2,200 employees. I wasn’t able to tell you then that First Energy will move out of their Ghent Rd. building so that Sterling can move in. I’m grateful for Tony Alexander’s willingness to sell his building to allow for Sterling’s expansion and for his commitment to build a new $30 million campus on White Pond Drive. 700 jobs will be located in what will be the highest performance “green” building in the area when completed.

Our work with these major employers is usually well-publicized. Less well-known however is the work we do regularly with small businesses, which make up the bulk of our city’s employment, and is the source of most new job growth. Over the last six years or so, the City has assisted some 420 small businesses - everything from family-owned restaurants to manufacturers with 30 or 40 employees to large service businesses. But just like all the work we do in neighborhoods, we haven’t marketed what we do very well.

So to that end, and to make sure we are serving the needs of small business, I am instituting the “Mayors Small Business Center” with a direct phone number to a member of our staff who will be assigned to coordinate calls of small businesses. I am naming economic development specialist Brent Hendren to this job of coordinating small business calls.

Questions may be about how to get access to capital. Or how to improve or expand the real estate that you presently occupy. We can direct entrepreneurs to our network of business development specialists. And we can provide information about government assistance.

Beginning next week, the Mayor’s Small Business Center will be reachable at 330.375. 2200.

We can keep Akron moving in the right direction if we have a vision for the future, strengthen our neighborhoods, and we compete for the jobs of the next century.

If we are to retain companies, we have to have an educated job force, and young people who want to live here.

We have no more important asset to keep our young professionals happy than our link to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Rebecca Ryan told us to describe Akron as a “city within the park.”

Our towpath bike and hike trail now extends from just south of Cleveland right up to West Market street. By this summer. I’m hoping that the tunnel under Market street and the bridge over Route 59 will be open, linking the trail to Downtown.

We think that the new developments downtown will continue to attract young people and new families as well as many older residents. And keep in mind - - the additional incremental income tax from the added jobs in downtown pays the equivalent of 100 extra police officers in our entire city.

The Roadunner Akron Marathon placed in the nation’s top marathons. The downtown Library and the Akron Zoo, are breaking attendance records. Last October on Main Street, we hosted firefighters from around the country in the Firefighters Combat Challenge. I’m pleased to announce that the LeBron James Bikeathon will be held this year on June 21st .

Last year, the city took over management of Lock 3 and set new attendance records. Over 100,000 attended our free or low-cost concerts, the Hamburger Festival, the Farmers Markets on Saturday mornings; and over 70,000 visitors from all over the country attended the most authentic European Christmas Market in the U.S. –our Chriskindl Market at Lock 3.

Just to the north, at Lock 4, behind the Civic Theatre, we demolished the old Landmark parking deck creating a spectacular view of the canal which will be part of a new development called “The Bowery.” The buildings between the Civic and the Landmark will start to see work this year as home to new shops, restaurants, and 70 apartments. Work starts this Spring.

Saving our built legacy for the future is another way Rebecca Ryan told us we can attract young professionals. Last month, we saw the adaptive re-use of the old post office, The Charles Mayer Building, as home to Summa’s Information systems. In December, the Bar Association moved in to old Fire Station #1 on Broadway. The lock 4 project will preserve seven historic buildings along South Main, and of course, we are all proud of what is now the internationally-acclaimed work of architecture, the Akron Art Museum .

I thank all of the individuals responsible for all of those successful projects.

Supporting the arts is one way we support the retention and attraction of skilled workers to our community. We sponsored more than 70 performing arts concerts last year, 50 of them in our neighborhoods.

The Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival allowed over 8,000 people the pleasure of free, outdoor ballet in our parks over 4 weekends.

The Lock 3 Summer Arts Experience—in its 5th year, brought another 60 Akron high-schoolers into a unique experience with professional artist mentors.

And Chrissie Hynde made it official. The composer of the rock and roll anthem, My City is Gone, announced that her city - Akron - was back.

A prominent block of downtown real estate will become the city's newest address for residential living. Richland Communities will build an apartment community in downtown Akron to house 450 students attending the University of Akron on Main street between Exchange and Cedar. To do this project, we are relocating the Richard Howe House just a few blocks away to the banks of the Canal at Exchange and Water streets. It will become the new headquarters to the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition.

We can keep Akron moving in the right direction if we have a vision for the future, strengthen our neighborhoods, we compete for the jobs of the next century, and we make Akron livable.    None of our partnerships is more important than the continuing one we have with the University of Akron. In addition to playing a crucial role in the development of the Biomedical Corridor - We have joined with Dr. Luis Proenza and the University Park Alliance to re-build the 40-block area around the campus.

The Knight foundation has already committed $10 million to University Park improvements, and I’ve committed the city to matching that grant.

We’re well on our way with the construction underway at Spicer Village and the expanded studios and galleries that Don Drumm and his family are building.

Clearly, the University’s plans for the Infocision Stadium and Summa Field will bring collegiate sports right into the central city next year, if all goes according to schedule.

The University has moved into downtown with its well-used Polsky building and now the purchase of Quaker Square.

Luis and I continue to discuss projects that will add energy and life to the city.

As important as the University is now and will be to our future, and more about thast in a moment, we know that our competitiveness in the future is directly linked to K-12 education.     Soon, every child in the Akron public schools will soon be learning their ABC’s, mathematics, and computer skills in brand-new Community learning Centers with advanced technology.

I’m proud of the fact that Akron was the first city in Ohio to obtain matching funds for new school construction through the use of a special income tax. You might call it the “Akron Plan,” since we others are looking at our idea as a model.

Already, Resnick, Voris, David Hill, Helen Arnold Betty Jane, Jennings, and Mason have been completed. Construction is underway for Crouse, Forest Hill, Robinson, and Sam Salem. A new center of excellence for math and science twill be housed inside the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

I want to acknowledge the dedicated work of Superintendent Sylvester Small. We do have differences from time to time, but there has never been a moment when I did not think that he is motivated solely out of what he thinks is best for the children of Akron. And he understands that is what motivates me as well. I wish him well in his retirement.

We are also using city tax dollars to help kids at other levels. Our city-sponsored after- school programs directed by Desiree Bolden have been highly successful. More than 1500 students are enrolled in the city-sponsored after school program. We operate almost 500 enrichment classes each week. In the hand-out on your table, you will see that students in the 3rd 4th and 5th grades who attend after school are getting better scores and greater gains than kids who do not attend.

The Butch Reynolds Care for Kids program is part of that, but it focuses on African-American boys in grades 3 to 5, who often join the program because of behavior issues. At Helen Arnold CLC, the 36 boys in the program have not had a single disciplinary problem since being in the program. The school’s suspension rate decreased by 65%. The principal wrote to me to say that the boys look forward to staying after school. One mother wrote that her young son gained two father figures in the men who run the Butch Reynolds program.

And I’m proud to report to you today that the City of Akron After School was just chosen by the Ohio Department of Education to be used as a statewide case model for after school study.

Help me acknowledge the work of Desiree Bolden and her staff (applause)

Another “Akron Plan,” you might say —but again, it’s nothing really new to us.

The original “Akron Plan” for Education was the subject of a magazine article that we’ve placed at your table. It was a radical idea in 1840 to use public tax dollars to pay for an elementary education. When two of our pioneers - Ansel Miller and Rev.Isaac Jennings came up with the idea of electing a school board that hires a superintendent, collects a property tax, builds schools, and sets standards —this was revolutionary at the time. When the Ohio Legislature enacted this into law statewide in 1847, they were called the Akron School Laws, and imitated around the country.

When Akron’s old stone schoolhouse was opened in 1835, readin’ and writin’ were enough to get a man a good job.

In 1890, only half of Akron’s children made it to the 8th grade.

When my dad came here to work in the tire factories, a high school diploma was an achievement.

For most of us here today, a college degree was the threshold requirement for the job we presently hold.

Now what? How do we prepare students today for the jobs that we are already brining here that require a higher level of education?

If we are going to truly have a vision for our community that extends well into the 21st century, then getting our children through high school is simply not enough.

Around the country, a few cities and some states have found a way. And have in the process, turned the trend that for whatever reasons — people have chosen to move out of the city and into the suburbs for public school.

These cities and a few states made a promise to their children —that if they completed public high school as a resident of the city, a tuition-paid college education would be available to them.

I’ve been working on this for a number of years; ever since I proposed selling the old landfill property and using the $10 million we would have received, to set up what some said would have been the largest public scholarship fund in the country. But for a variety of reasons, that didn’t materialize.

But then I heard about the Kalamazoo Promise. High school graduates in the city get their college tuition and mandatory fees paid at a public college, from a trust fund set up by anonymous philanthropists and local businesses.

New homes started springing up in Kalamazoo, and property values increased. People started moving back to Kalamazoo to help their children succeed.

I’ve decided that it’s time for Akron to enact a scholarship program that will attract families to live in the city. A New “Akron Plan”.

Imagine the results of a program that provides every child who graduates from an Akron public high school with the opportunity for a college degree at the University of Akron or a technical certificate from an advanced trade school in Akron.

This would be the kind of transformation that can re-shape Akron for the rest of this century. We’ve invested in our school buildings. I say let’s invest in our students.

The return on that investment to our city will be dividends far into the future.

Obviously, there are lots of issues to be resolved when offering free college tuition. The program would require students to apply for all available aid first. Our community should not lose the federal funds that deserving students are entitled to receive. Some will be eligible for Pell grants and other scholarships. Many do that now, only to discover that even with such aid, they fall short. The Akron program would pick-up where other scholarships leave off and will provide the “last dollar” needed for tuition and mandatory fees.

I want to thank Dr. Judy Hummel of the Summit Education Initiative for bringing this to my attention.

Those of you with calculators in your brain are already asking where the money will come from to fund such a program.

I’ve been watching cities around America re-invest in their infrastructure through the sale of publicly-owned assets to private concerns. For decades, taxpayers have made investments in infrastructure that have significant value. Upon sale, the cash realized from the transaction is “securitized,” or reinvested for a higher purpose.

One available asset for sale is the city’s sewer system, conservatively valued at about $250 million.

Within the next 30 days, I will call together a group of community leaders to examine how we might create a plan for securitizing a city asset by re-investing the funds into a public trust, and developing a plan to provide a publicly-funded education beyond high school.

What higher purpose can there be than investing in our children?

I know this sounds ambitious, and there are those with all of the best intentions who tell me that I should take it easy. That I don’t need to be controversial and constantly trying to change things. (You know the old saying, “It all pays the same.”) I appreciate that some of my friends are looking out for me personally.

But I have learned how short a time we have on this earth and I am more convinced that in this highly competitive world we need to embrace change as our ally - use it to our competitive advantage and constantly try to improve, even if there are some people who never “get” it.

I still get up every morning thinking about how to improve the city.

In case you had any doubts, I’m just as enthusiastic today as I was 34 years ago as a 24 year old councilman.

And I’m just as committed and just as determined (maybe more so) as I was 22 years ago when I became Mayor.

I want us to work together and I want to provide the leadership necessary to make Akron even greater.

And I invite all of you to join me in that effort. Thank You.

 questions or comments
330-375-2538 Phone | 330-375-2335 Fax

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #62 on: March 10, 2008, 01:10:37 AM »
New construction for Akron?


NEOUCOM, UA, Akron hospitals could join together in multi-million-dollar, 10,000-square-foot facility
Medical training center on the table

By Cheryl Powell
Beacon Journal medical writer

Published on Monday, Mar 10, 2008

Preliminary talks among Northeast Ohio's public medical college, the University of Akron and Akron's three hospital systems could bring a multi-million-dollar medical training center to the city.

Within the next two years, the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy wants to open a clinical skills training center in Akron's biomedical corridor, near Akron General Medical Center and Akron City and Akron Children's hospitals.

More at
« Last Edit: September 07, 2009, 09:36:06 PM by MayDay »

Offline MayDay

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #63 on: March 19, 2008, 09:54:08 AM »
Just what's needed in Northeast Ohio!!! :roll:

New retail complex proposed

Plans unveiled for shopping complex in Twinsburg that could mean about 1,200 jobs

By Connie Bloom
and Betty Lin-Fisher
Beacon Journal staff writers

Published on Wednesday, Mar 19, 2008

A proposed retail shopping complex will be the first of its kind in the country, a development group said Tuesday evening, when it unveiled plans for the $100 million Twinsburg Fashion Place to a roomful of public officials at Twinsburg Township Hall.

Summit County Council members and Twinsburg trustees seemed enthusiastic about the prospects of the proposal that could mean up to 1,200 jobs. The development would straddle land in Twinsburg and Twinsburg Township and could open as early as 2010.

More at
« Last Edit: September 07, 2009, 03:50:29 PM by MayDay »

Offline gotribe

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #64 on: March 19, 2008, 11:44:24 AM »

Pedestrian-friendly? Okay, as long as you drive down the quarter-mile entrance road and park your car in the sea of asphalt!

I think what they mean is it won't be your typical big box development (think Avon Commons or Medina) where you have to drive to every store.  You can park, or probably even take a bus route, into the center and walk from store to store. 

Offline MayDay

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #65 on: March 19, 2008, 06:30:20 PM »
Oh believe me, I know the spin they're going for. This is just more oversaturation and unsustainable development that a stagnant region doesn't need.

Offline JamesMatthew

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #66 on: May 15, 2008, 09:40:37 PM »
I was wondering if anyone has heard anything on where/when this building will be built? I know the museum is operating out of "temporary" offices in Downtown Akron and would like to have its own museum space.. Last thing I heard was the end of 2006 that it was planned for the building that summa just put offices in now by the new acute care facility on E market..

« Last Edit: September 10, 2009, 08:47:31 AM by McCleveland »

Offline JamesMatthew

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #67 on: May 31, 2008, 07:19:24 PM »
Waterfront living comes to Akron
New restaurants and attractions planned to line canal in downtown

Imagine a relaxing moonlit dinner, listening to the trickling sounds of moving water and basking in the buzz of city nightlife. If that sounds appealing, don't look any farther than downtown Akron.

Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Robert Bowman reveals Akron's plan to transform downtown life into a waterfront atmosphere. He said construction has already begun on the development of new waterfront restaurants, entertainment areas, shops, offices and apartments on the canalway downtown.

Stretching from the corner of Bowery Street and North Main Street, a strip of restaurants and new developments will soon be nestled.

"Akron residents can expect some exciting times to take place in downtown," Bowman said.

The restaurants will be located right on the canal shore and will be connected to the and outdoor venue Lock 3, under the overhanging brick wall of the theater. The desirable location will enable future customers to walk over to Lock 3 and catch a summer concert after dinner or drinks.

The six building strip is being redeveloped and undergoing historic renovation to become the as new downtown attraction. Turning the battered Main Street storefronts and antique buildings next to the Civic Theater into new attractions will incorporate the nostalgic characteristics of the historic buildings with the contemporary design of new architecture. The plan is to build loft apartments above the restaurants and make commercial space available below.

The specific type of restaurants, entertainment and time of completion has not been decided, but Bowman revealed that "it's going to be something unique."

Bowman added that they are working on the idea of projecting films onto the outside wall of the Civic Theater, so patrons can watch movies while dining out on summer nights.

The success of the Akron Aeros minor league baseball team at Canal Park, combined with the Lock 3 attractions, the Barley House and the opening of the Ohio Brewing Company and Damon's Grille in the historic O'Neil building have led the way to these new developments. Bowman explained that it is important to concentrate on downtown Akron. "The downtown of any city is the living room of the community," he said.

Bowman adds that the centralization will attract more businesses, create a demand for more services and jobs and will help increase fire and police protection.

The new developments in downtown will not only be something for residents to look forward to, but will eventually increase the progression on projects in surrounding communities. Bowman explains that increasing the flow of businesses and consumerism downtown will generate more tax dollars for the city, which will be distributed to surrounding neighborhoods.

"A healthy downtown equals healthy neighborhoods," Bowman said.

The excitement surrounding downtown will only add to the success of up and coming projects such as the Middlebury Marketplace, the first new retail shopping center to open in center-city Akron in the past 40 years, and aid in the developments of the available space in Highland Square.

Bowman's vision for the future of downtown is to concentrate on a number of significant medical developments such as the Biomed Corridor, the Orthopedic institute, an Academic Health Center, Northeast Ohio University Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy and the expansion of Akron's three hospitals. Plus, the Goodyear project will continue to advance and progress into the years ahead.

Credit: Sarah Haas; The Buchtelite
« Last Edit: September 10, 2009, 09:10:15 AM by MayDay »

Offline A 2 da K

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #68 on: June 03, 2008, 11:47:00 AM »
Nice to hear something is being done with this block, it looks pretty dreadful.  I'm glad they are preserving these buildings; I know a few years ago there was talk of demolishing everything from the Civic up to Bowery for a new development that has since never made it off the blueprints.

Offline tlazar39

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #69 on: June 03, 2008, 11:53:17 AM »
This is great news for A-K-Ron, but I also question the story's validity/chances of it actually happening...

As a former Buchtelite writer and Univ. of Akron Alum, I know that this student-run paper has the best intentions, but why didn't the Akron Beacon Journal have anything about this first?  (...or did that newspaper close with no one knowing?)

Either way, it's great to see something positive about Akron and it's downtown/canalfront developing.  Canal Park is a JEWEL and that canal would make for a great attraction with the right planning...

Offline Ipsilon

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #70 on: June 03, 2008, 03:58:02 PM »
There's water in Akron?


Sorry, I couldn't resist.

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #71 on: June 03, 2008, 06:15:08 PM »
There have been articles in the Beacon about this.  It was never explained so romantically as the Buchtellite writer has conjured up.  I think she did a good job writing that story.  The Beacon's version was basically in the business section describing relatively dryly that they want to refurbish those buildings and add some restaurants.  No real details, no real time-frame.  That was a year to a year and a half ago with a brief update on it when they took down the parking garage.

Its quite clear seeing the updates in the particular buildings that things are happening.   When they will have occupancy is obviously another matter.  I'm hearing there could be 1 or 2 restaurants open by the end of the year, perhaps as early as summer.

With a bit of searching I found the old thread:,11402.0.html
« Last Edit: June 03, 2008, 06:29:40 PM by audidave »

Offline JamesMatthew

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #72 on: June 05, 2008, 06:42:56 PM »
Plus this coming week they will be finishing the canal towpath bridge accross the innerbelt (rt59) which will create a direct walking/biking trail from Downtown Akron to Downtown Cleveland. these restaurants could become something quite interesting depending on how they sell it to the public.. could even be a new romantic date spot in the city

Offline Flee2theCleve

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #73 on: June 06, 2008, 05:29:34 PM »
with gondola rides along the canal? a la san antonio's river walk

Offline jpop

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #74 on: August 11, 2008, 10:41:51 PM »
[I think this is a pretty awesome story, catching the green trend..]

Akron company's technology could keep plastic out of landfills
Posted by Peter Krouse August 11, 2008 16:20PM
Categories: Breaking News, Environment, Impact
A monthly look at companies embracing sustainability

Marvin Fong/The Plain Dealer
Phil Hansel of PolyFlow adjusts a valve on the collection tank of the company's plastic processor. It vaporizes all manner of discarded plastics and then condenses the gas into a liquid that can be distilled down into its core chemicals, such as benzene and styrene.

AKRON -- It wouldn't be the first time a business from Akron shook the world. After all, it is the Rubber Capital.
This time it's PolyFlow Corp., a tiny innovator with big dreams, working on a potentially dramatic breakthrough.

More at
« Last Edit: September 07, 2009, 09:38:35 PM by MayDay »

Offline Master

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #75 on: August 12, 2008, 08:38:19 PM »
Once again, Akron is positioned to make it's mark on the world! Former Rubber Capital, Current Polymer Capital, Liquid Crystals, Medical Research and Development and now this. This city is showing exactly how a city Adapts, Improvises and overcomes!

Offline jpop

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #76 on: August 12, 2008, 11:09:27 PM »
It IS pretty cool. ;)

Online audidave

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #77 on: September 30, 2008, 12:31:31 AM »
I figured this should go here since I'm sure no one is interested in starting a new thread about Akron office space being gobbled up...

Team NEO occupied with office space
Vacancy rates down in Northeast Ohio, Akron. Growing medical sector one reason
By Paula Schleis
Beacon Journal business writer
Published on Monday, Sep 29, 2008

Occupied office space in Northeast Ohio is at its highest point in at least five years, taking up nearly 112 million square feet in a 16-county region.

In the Akron area, only 8 percent of available office space is currently vacant, down from nearly 12 percent in early 2007.

That's the latest snapshot of a segment of the region's economy from Team NEO, an economic development group charged with marketing the area to new businesses.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 01:00:17 PM by Sherman Cahal »

Offline mrnyc

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #78 on: October 01, 2008, 12:44:40 PM »
"Another Team NEO report found that higher-paying jobs in Northeast Ohio are growing at a faster rate than lower-paying jobs. And that, he said, could explain why more Class A space is getting filled."

wow that is great news. you always just tend to think the low paying service industry jobs are the job growth leaders, but no look at that it's not so. thx beacon journal -- i guess i just got a bad case of plain dealer-itis.  :whip:

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #79 on: October 06, 2008, 11:28:16 PM »
Another positive article this time about Akron's suburb to the Southwest.
Best of Barberton
Tour around city shows development groups what efforts have worked, what more can be done
By Paula Schleis
Beacon Journal business writer
Published on Sunday, Oct 05, 2008

''Where's the largest lake in Barberton?'' Larry Lallo asked his passengers as the tour bus left Turkeyfoot Lake Road and bounced down a gravel and dirt path to an empty farm field.

Clearly a trick question, since the group was nowhere near the city's famed Lake Anna.

A rise in the topography prevented anyone from seeing what Lallo was pointing to, but they took his word that just beyond the crest was a 65-acre lake concealed from the road and probably unknown to most Barberton residents.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 01:00:48 PM by Sherman Cahal »

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #80 on: October 24, 2008, 08:39:27 PM »
Snap-On building new HQ
105,000-square-foot structure will be near its current office
By Rick Armon
Beacon Journal staff writer
Published on Thursday, Oct 23, 2008

« Last Edit: September 04, 2009, 05:17:15 PM by metrocity »

Offline mj1403

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #81 on: November 03, 2008, 11:48:39 AM »
I drove by the downtown Akron student housing development that's going on at Exchange St. and South Main St. and it looks like they are moving along pretty good.  Though it was dark and rainy I noticed they have 3 stories up and it looked like inside framing was going on.  Students living in these should definitely have a good time seeing that they are being built right smack dab in the middle of the cities main entertainment/club district.   :drunk:
« Last Edit: November 03, 2008, 11:49:27 AM by mj1403 »

Offline seicer

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #82 on: November 18, 2008, 08:12:38 AM »
Rooms with a view
11-story Hotel Howe is tallest in Akron at opening in 1915
By Mark J. Price, Beacon Journal, November 17, 2008

Akron businessman Fred S. Ozier discovered a groundbreaking way to remain in the good graces of his mother-in-law.

He built a fancy hotel and named it for her.

The 11-story, 112-room Hotel Howe was the tallest building in Akron when it opened in November 1915. Located at 11 S. Main St., the downtown inn was a handsome alternative to the 250-room Portage Hotel, which opened in 1912 at Market and Main streets.

Akron's population was in the midst of unprecedented growth — rising from 69,067 in 1910 to a staggering 208,435 in 1920. Hotels couldn't keep up with the daily influx of newcomers.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 01:01:33 PM by Sherman Cahal »

Offline MayDay

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #83 on: November 18, 2008, 09:13:16 AM »
^Here's a pic:

Offline mj1403

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #84 on: November 18, 2008, 10:19:15 AM »
Hopefully they have cleaned up the courtyard since the last time I was by there (which was a few years ago) because it was a nice little nook.  The construction work on the new parking garage behind had almost all but destroyed it.  Anybody know?

That was a nice looking building too.  I guess the building was in pretty bad shape since the city bought and demolished it.  I would hate to think that it could have been rehabbed but the city torn it down because they thought no one would ever want it.  Most of the buildings in that area are now either rehabbed or new, no?

Offline zippo

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #85 on: November 18, 2008, 11:47:10 AM »
I spoke to Tony Troppe, who is the owner of the buildings on either side of what is now the courtyard. He really agonized about having the Howe Hotel torn down, because he is a redeveloper of old buildings.  He just couldn't figure out a way of making it work as either  apartments or office space, because of the footprint, and the fact that replacing the elevators was cost prohibitive. The courtyard was scheduled for an expansion of the United building, but it never worked out.

Offline mj1403

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #86 on: November 18, 2008, 02:35:57 PM »
Interesting stuff, thanks for the info.

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #87 on: November 18, 2008, 09:57:15 PM »
New wine bar in 6-10 months or so in Highland Square...
Eatery Coming To Highland Square
11/17/2008 3:24:21 AM  |  Tina Kaufmann

The former Two Amigo's will soon turn into a reasonably priced wine bar and kitchen, under a new owner and new name.

David Haynes, a professional chef from California, is considering an Italian name for his rustic, chic eatery he's envisioned for the last 17 years. "The driver for the back of the house will be a wood-fired oven (for pizza) and the driver for the front of the house will be a very dynamic bar, large selections of wines by the glass, handcrafted cocktails, all things made in house," says Haynes.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 01:03:11 PM by Sherman Cahal »

Offline seicer

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #88 on: December 09, 2008, 11:08:45 AM »
Howe House in a stall
Coalition awaits delivery of architect's plans, needed to remove steel beams; ownership transfer delayed
By Bob Downing, Beacon Journal, December 07, 2008

Akron's historic Howe House was moved in July, but since then things have slowed down.

Architect's plans for the building are due to be completed soon. The transfer of the city-owned house has not taken place, said Dan Rice of the Akron-based Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition.

The architect's plans are needed to remove the steel beams that still are shoring up the 400-ton building that was moved along Exchange Street from South High Street.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 01:02:03 PM by Sherman Cahal »

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Re: Akron: Random Development News & Info
« Reply #89 on: December 16, 2008, 11:47:58 PM »
One company not in a pickle about where to expand to...

Company Jammed For Space, Moving To Akron
12/16/2008 6:31:34 AM  |  Toni Cicone

Some J.M. Smucker employees will be calling Akron home after the new year.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that the growing Orrville-based food company will temporarily relocate two divisions to Akron because it's running out of space at it's headquarters, which are based in Wayne County.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 01:03:28 PM by Sherman Cahal »