City leaders in Akron say the Rubber Bowl, unused since 2008, should be razed. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports on why the 76-year-old arena may soon meet the wrecking ball.
The Rubber Bowl was home to the University of Akron Zips from 1940 until they moved to InfoCision Stadium in 2008. City Councilman Bob Hoch, whose district includes the Rubber Bowl, says the city should have bought the facility then for a dollar. Instead, Canton-based Team 1 Marketing eventually bought the Rubber Bowl, and now owes $84,000 in back taxes.
Hoch says the city was supportive of Team 1’s plans for a USFL franchise, but that fell through. The Rubber Bowl sits next to Derby Downs and Hoch says it’s now simply too dilapidated to be brought back and should be torn down.
“When you have people coming in from all over the world, that doesn’t look good. We need to put a better appearance than what we’re doing right now.”
Hoch also says the Rubber Bowl has outlived its usefulness for events, given venues such as Lock 3, Blossom Music Center in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena. He says he's discussed possible uses for the land with officials from Derby Downs, home of the All-American Soapbox Derby.
“We have a nice big hill there and maybe we could put in some toboggan chutes for winter time, or maybe a summer waterslide or do something like that.
“It just doesn’t have the usefulness that it used to have. There’s a lot of great pictures and a lot of great memories there, and I think that’s about what we’re going to be left with.”
The City of Akron did not return calls for comment. Team 1 Marketing bought the Rubber Bowl in 2013 but has not been able to re-open the stadium. The company did not respond to a call for comment, but tells the Beacon Journal it plans to release a statement this week on the Rubber Bowl.