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Economy

Akron Community Revitalization Loan Fund Gets A Quarter-Million Dollars Closer to Its Goal

photo of Akron North Hill neighborhood
M.L. SCHULTZE
/
WKSU

Huntington Bank is the latest company to contribute to a $4.5 million loan fund for projects in distressed Akron neighborhoods.

The bank has given a quarter-million dollars to the Akron Community Revitalization Loan Fund. The group says it will concentrate on loaning money for projects from $500,000 all the way up to $2 million in places like North Hill and East Akron, with interest rates hovering below 2.75 percent.

“The neighborhoods -- because of tax credit equity -- they have to meet certain economically distressed criteria. A good portion of Akron qualifies: most of downtown, North Hill, East Akron, a good portion of the west side of Akron. We’re actually starting to vet projects now that are located throughout the city.”

Chris Burnham, president of the Development Finance Authority, says the structure of the program calls for non-housing-related projects.

“It could be private development, could be a grocery store, could be a mixed-use retail.”

Burnham adds that they’re already vetting a mixed-use project on the city’s east side.

After the Huntington Bank grant, the program still needs $1.7 million to be fully funded. Huntington took over Akron-based First Merit last year, and agreed to set up a $20 million foundation as part of the deal.