Akron Innerbelt

photo of Innerbelt National Forest
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

The Innerbelt National Forest is now open to the public, bringing new green space to downtown Akron.

Adirondack chairs, potted trees and an amphitheater are now nestled into a spot adjacent to the Innerbelt, a now-closed highway. The forest was funded by more than $214,000 from the Knight Foundation. One of the volunteers who helped plant trees was Patricia Mosley from Fairlawn, who says she hopes the city is receptive to expanding the project.

Abandoned Innerbelt
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Akron continues to try to figure out what to do with the 31 acres of decommissioned highway that cuts into downtown’s northwest side. 

At a conference on 21st century cities, Akron planners and engineers got more feedback last week from national experts on what to do with the stretch of Route 59 now closed to traffic. And that advice is to go slow. City Planner Jason Segedy says that makes sense given the city budget and location of the roadway.

Jeff Speck
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Rebuilding Akron as a 21st century city could mean overhauling zoning codes, embracing its historical architecture and putting city streets on a diet – by narrowing freeway-size lanes to pedestrian friendly paths. Those were among the steps highlighted at a conference at the John S. Knight Center today on ways to rebuild the city’s population to 250,000 by 2050. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke with one of the national urban planners who focuses on the attraction of cities.

Meyer Sommerville Kutuchief Segedy Powell
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

With the help of the Huffington Post’s 25-city listening tour, Akron took a closer look last night at tentative plans to turn a divided highway into something that would, as the mayor’s senior advisor Marco Sommerville put it, “make Akron a destination.” WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on planning the Innerbelt’s future.

photo of design charrette
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

About two-dozen people met in Kent over the weekend to brainstorm ideas for the future of Akron’s Innerbelt highway.

City planners, project managers and even community activists were at Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design on Saturday, considering what to do with the 30 acres that will be available once the Innerbelt is demolished.

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