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2018 Ohio Excellence in Journalism - On-going Coverage

With a new mayor in place, an activist city planner and foundation funding from, among others, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Akron is looking for new ways to revitalize and change its city core. Throughout 2017, WKSU reporters followed this story as it applied to retail, transportation, business, city living and community, providing area listeners information and inspiration as Akron seeks ways to embrace positive change.

As the fifth largest city in Ohio, Akron is home to stand-out institutions – like the Akron Art Museum and The University of Akron – and international corporations, including the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. And, the fact that the city often finds itself in the shadow of Cleveland has been a blessing and a curse. When Dan Horrigan became the first new Akron mayor in nearly 30 years, his office adopted a goal for population growth and civic influencers came together to look for a plan for success.

Reports in the submission cover neighborhood revitalization studies, discussions around the removal of Akron’s Innerbelt urban highway, inner-city retail startups, making downtown living more attractive and creating a car-free environment. As a mid-sized city in the industrialized Midwest, Akron has struggled to reinvent itself and to create a growing economy that will draw population, instead of losing the next generation to regions considered more desirable. WKSU reporters will continue to cover the city as it develops and advances its plan for radical change.