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Two Akron Parks Win Money For Improvements

an overhead view of the location of the park
Park East is located along the canal between West Bartges and West Thornton streets in Akron. Grant money will fund improvements to Park East and Elizabeth Park.

The Akron Parks Challenge announced the winners of this year’s grants. One of them will help fund a new playground at Park East, which is located between downtown Akron and Summit Lake.

The proposal came from developer Alpha Phi Alpha Homes. Executive Director Thomas Fuller said the there’s been very little attention paid to the park in the last 30 years.

“Over the last 30 years this park has experienced a lot of deconstruction. This will be the opportunity to put something back in, in place of some of the real exciting and elaborate features that were once there,” he said.

Fuller believes the improvements will be great for neighborhood residents, many of whom can’t afford transportation to get to other parks.

Elizabeth Park, which is located at North Union and Park streets, is also getting a grant.

David Pereplyochik submitted the application. He is an assistant professor in Kent State’s philosophy department. He hopes things like murals, family pavilions and new-and-improved basketball courts will help bring members of the community together.

Community cohesion

“If you have all these amenities that unite the community and bring them all together into joint public spaces, the community starts feeling cohesion and that when people start really talking about what their problems are and what things can be improved.”

He said that the timetable for the plan’s completion is one year with the collaborative efforts of Councilwoman Tara Samples and Community Organizer Kenny Thomas.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include comments from the winner of the Elizabeth Park grant. 

Phillip was born in Cleveland but raised in Kent. He is an undergraduate student at Kent State majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications and will be graduating in Spring 2020. Currently, he is an intern at WKSU working to enhance and diversify his journalistic skills. Phillip plans on using both TV and radio platforms to not only analyze and discuss sports but also help bring people from all walks of life together to bridge the gap between sports and society.