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Akron's Lock 3 Park Vision Plan is fully funded

 A rendering of the Lock 3 patio
Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition
A rendering of the Lock 3 patio is part of the Vision Plan for the park that is mostly used as a space for special events. The plan calls for turning the park into a year-round destination.

Akron has reached its goal for funding the Lock 3 Park Vision Plan. The city will spend $3.5 million of its American Rescue Plan Act money, and the Knight Foundation will provide matching funds.

The city plans to break ground on the new park in the fall.

Access and equity are key to the new year-round public space on South Main Street, Mayor Dan Horrigan said at a Tuesday press conference.

“The Lock 3 Vision Plan includes shaded seating, landscape gardens, artwork, skating areas and a performance pavilion,” Horrigan said.

The process of envisioning the Lock 3 space began five years ago with the goal of connecting Akron’s parks, said Knight Foundation Program Director Kyle Kutuchief.

“From Summit Lake, along the Towpath Trail, through Ohio and Erie Canal Park and into Downtown and the difference was, what if we thought of these spaces as a network of places rather than just a park here, a community center there, a library there?” Kutuchief said. “How might they work together?”

The project is expected to cost about $10 million.

Tuesday’s $7 million contribution from the city and the Knight Foundation rounds out earlier contributions from private donors, Summit County government, the Ohio & Erie Canalway, as well as $2 million that the Knight Foundation had previously committed and $1.5 million the city had already earmarked.

“The conversation shifts now, with Lock 3 shovel-ready, to Locks 2, 3 and 4,” Kutuchief said, looking to the future of the Akron Civic Commons 2.0 project. “Here at the Richard Howe House down to the Akron Civic Theatre, this network of public spaces along the Ohio and Erie Canal. What can these parks do together that they couldn't do on their own?”

Organizers are continuing to fundraise for the next phase of the project with a goal of connecting to Akron Children's Hospital.