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Akron's Summit Lake Continues Its Rebound, One Year After Being Declared Safe for Recreation

Photo of Sims and Rice
WKSU public radio
Akron City Councilwoman Veronica Sims (left) joined Dan Rice of the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition to canoe on Summit Lake last year, after it was declared clean enough for recreation.

One year ago, Akron's Summit Lake was declared clean enough for recreation, and officials say the lake has made progress over the past 12 months.

The lake on Akron’s east side was once home to an amusement park, which closed in 1958. Decades of residential and industrial pollution followed, but in recent years, the Knight Foundation has provided $4 million in funding through its Civic Commons initiative to re-imagine public spaces in the city, including Summit Lake.

Kyle Kutuchief is with the foundation and says now there’s a Countryside Conservancy Farmer’s Market at the lake starting Tuesday afternoons, which is not just limited to food.

“There’s a kayak and canoe share where people can go out on the water. And there’s usually a musician. And if the weather’s not too hot, they fire up the fire pit to roast s’mores and have an evening program,” he said.

The Knight Foundation worked with neighborhood residents to add a 2.5-mile loop around the lake in May. And next summer, Summit Metroparks is slated to re-open the pump house on the lake’s eastern shore as a visitor’s center.

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