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Akron finalizes $10 million in Funding for new Summit Lake North Shore Park

Summit Lake canoes.png
Akron Summit County Public Library
Ruth Wright Clinefelter Postcard Collection
A canoe and kayak livery will once again be part of Akron's Summit Lake after a new $10 million park is completed on the north shore, where boaters had gathered a century ago.

The northern shore of Summit Lake in Akron will once again become a place for recreation, more than 60 years after the amusement park there closed.

City, County, and community officials were on hand Wednesday to announce a funding milestone in the restoration of Akron’s Summit Lake neighborhood.

Mayor Dan Horrigan says funding from the American Rescue Plan Act is providing the final $2 million for the $10 million initial phase of the project.

The city will begin work early next year on a trail that encircles the lake, a concession stand, picnic pavilion, boat launch, and kayak storage facility.

Horrigan says the idea for restoration came from residents in the primarily African-American neighborhood.

“There’s an equity argument that overrides all of this, is that we don’t necessarily need to be equal, we need to start doing thing equitably, and that is investing in areas that we haven’t invested in in a long time,” Horrigan said.

Summit Lake Pump House.JPG
Kabir Bhatia
The new Summit Lake Nature Center is inside the former pump house. Until 1958, it was surrounded by Summit Beach Amusement Park.

Horrigan says future work along the canal corridor will link Summit Lake with downtown.

The Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition led community input into the planning. CEO Dan Rice says the new park will include a chance to see Summit Lake from all sides.

Summit Beach Park.JPG
Kabir Bhatia
This marker stands approximately in what was the deep end of the Crystal Pool. It's the only reminder of the amusement park which once took up acres of land around Summit Lake.

“And so one of the first projects out of the gate here is the Ohio and Erie Summit Lake trail, which will circumnavigate the lake. It'll be a full 2.25 mile trail, connecting all neighborhoods around Summit Lake,” says Rice.

Additional funding for the project comes from the Knight Foundation, Summit County, and private donors.

Summit Metro Parks’ new nature center at Summit Lake opened earlier this year.
Summit Beach Amusement Park closed in 1958 as the lake became polluted with rubber industry runoff.

Jeff is your average chemist turned radio host and reporter. He currently hosts middays on WKSU and has reported extensively on science, politics, business, and the environment.