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The Akron Innerbelt's Future Could Be Decided By a Design Charrette

photo of Innerbelt picnic

The future of Akron's Innerbelt highway could be determined by a group of the city's artists and designers who are meeting tomorrow.

Akron-based architect Craig Thompson is expecting about three-dozen people to brainstorm ideas for the 30 acres that will be available once the roadway downtown is removed over the next few years. He says Akron’s creative community is cautiously excited about the blank canvas.

“I think a lot of the local talent is somewhat hesitant to get excited about it. Because in the past – for big projects in the area – they’ve reached out to national or international design firms. Our tagline for the event is, ‘Why not local?’ The mayor has been using the hashtag, ‘Why not Akron?’ So we’re asking, ‘Why not local?’”

The event -- known as a "design charrette" – starts tomorrow at 10 a.m. at Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design in Kent.

Design charrette

“It’s a brainstorming session which can include some verbal ideas, also some visual ideas thrown down on paper, some sketching, some eventual renderings or floor plans or elevations. And kind of way we represent.”

Akron city officials have suggested a number of uses for the Innerbelt, including walkable green space and mixed-use development.

Details about attending are available here.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.