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Environment & Energy

Summit Lake's Urban Legends of Sunken Ferris Wheels, Alligators and Dead Bodies Give Way to Reality

Photo of Rice and Veronica Sims
WKSU public radio
Canalway Coalition Dan Rice takes Akron Councilwoman Veronica Sims out on Summit Lake -- newly declared safe for boating, fishing and birdwatching.

Akron’s Summit Lake has officially been cleared for fishing, boating and birdwatching. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke with Dan Rice of the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition about the attempt to make the lake and park a destination without the risks that come with gentrification.

Decades of heavy industry took its toll on Summit Lake and the area around it, reducing it from what had been Akron’s “waterfront playground” to a place locals called “Scummit Lake.”

But the Knight Foundation’s Civic Commons collaboration on environmental and other community issues decided last year to take another look. And a new study by the company Enviroscience confirms the lake has been cleaning itself. It still has problems with urban runoff – including oil spills. But the Canalway’s Dan Rice says the report should lay to rest fears of buried bodies, sunken ferris wheels and other urban legends.

About $150,000 in federal funds are going into the study of the lake, sediment and property surrounding it.

Tomorrow on Morning Edition, we’ll have more on the reclamation of the neighborhood that surrounds Summit Lake.