Downtown Akron

A photo of the blimp
AKRONITE

An Akron business owner is optimistic about the potential impact of a new app being launched by the city to support local businesses.  Called the Akronite, the app aims to increase community engagement and connect residents with local retailers. It incentivizes “Akronites” to shop locally with a rewards system that features a blimp.

A picture of tunnel boring machine nicknamed Rosie
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Akron has reached a major milestone in its billion-dollar sewer overhaul.  The city announced the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel is 100 percent connected. 

All of the downtown sewers will now flow through the new tunnel.  Pat Gsellman, who is overseeing the project, says the new 63-hundred-foot long tunnel will have a positive environmental impact.

“So all that overflow that would have eventually ended up in the Cuyahoga River, we’re capturing around 500 million gallons a year of flow that will now be treated at the waste water plant.”

JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

For the first time in history, people across the country have been directed to stay home.

Schools and daycares have closed. Bars and resturants are shuttered.

Elder care facilities are in lockdown. Businesses have closed their doors to all but the most essential workers.

Groups cannot gather outside homes, and everyone is expected to stay six feet apart.

photo of Akron CitiCenter
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Officials with the Downtown Akron Partnership are excited about a project that will add even more apartments to the city and preserve an historic building.

The CitiCenter Building opened in 1931 as the Akron YWCA. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Suzie Graham with the Downtown Akron Partnership says preserving historic buildings – while also adding living space – is crucial for the city.

a photo of Tony Troppe at BLU-tique
SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU

Finishing touches are being put on a new hotel in downtown Akron. It’s located in the historic United building and will welcome guests for the first time on New Year’s Eve.

photo of the Akron Civic Theatre marquis
SHANE WYNN / AKRONSTOCK

The 90-year-old Akron Civic Theatre is poised to undergo a major restoration and expansion project that is expected to take the venue into the next 90 years.  

Theater officials have raised close to 90% of an $8.5 million capital campaign called “Staging the Future.”  The money will be used to complete a restoration that ended in 2002 without finishing the front of the building and Grand Lobby.

Downtown Akron
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

The city of Akron has had a goal to increase its population and now has a plan to make that happen. The five year plan focuses on equitable growth that benefits all residents.

Deputy Mayor James Hardy says part of the plan involving downtown redevelopment is already well underway.  

a photo of the rendering fo the new Smith's headquarters
SUMMIT COUNTY

Summit county leaders have revealed more details about plans for Smither’s, Akron’s long-time research firm, to move its world headquarters from West Market Street to downtown.  

In a transaction involving the county, the city, the Development Finance Authority and several others, the company will renovate and occupy the former Austen BioInnovation Institute at 47 N. Main St. The plan includes tearing down the old trolley barn and constructing a new research & development facility.

Akron's main Street construction
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

The city of Akron is at the midpoint of a major reconstruction project downtown. Bright orange barrels and rubber cones stretch for blocks on Main Street and trucks rumble by kicking up dust. Akron is completely rebuilding the corridor through the heart of downtown.

photo of Nick Cave's HEARD sound suits entering the garden at the Akron Art Museum.
Mark Arehart / WKSU

Nick Cave’s artwork has been on display for months at the Akron Art Museum, but over the weekend the artist’s wearable sculptures came to life. Performers from across the region donned the so-called sound suits made up of synthetic raffia fibers for a unique performance that mixes visual art, dance and music. 

Akron Draft Day Experience
CITY OF AKRON

Football fans from across the region are expected to gather at Akron’s Lock 3 Park to celebrate the centennial of the National Football League and Akron’s own pro football team.

A photo of the Huntington Tower
SHANE WYNN / AKRONSTOCK

The head of the Downtown Akron Partnership is excited about future possibilities for Akron’s tallest building. Reports indicate Columbus-based Huntington Bank is going to sell what was originally known as First National Tower on South Main Street. Huntington offices in the 27-story building will be moved to other locations it has nearby.

While news of the sale surprised her, Downtown Akron Partnership CEO Suzie Graham said the building is well-suited for other uses. 

University Of Akron Focuses On Making Downtown Safer

Dec 19, 2018
A photo on the campus of The University of Akron.
UNIVERSITY OF AKRON

University of Akron and city officials have laid out plans to make Exchange Street safer after several incidents along the corridor this semester.

Some of the improvements proposed are increased street lights in the area and better communication between the city and landlords about property maintenance.

photo of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
CHRIS WALLIS / WKSU

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, December 13:

photo of Jeanne Tassiello
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Two buildings that once housed retail rivals in downtown Akron will be competing again this holiday season... for eyeballs.

interior view of Landmark Building
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

After half a century of ideas and plans that never got off the ground, the renovation of a historic block in the heart of downtown Akron is getting underway

Groundbreaking for the Bowery Project came just hours after final details were worked out for financing it. The ceremony was in the long-empty Landmark Building. It was constructed in 1923 as the headquarters of Akron Savings & Loan.

photo of Christine Jonke
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

For the next month, the City of Akron is inviting public feedback about phase two of its $11 million project to transform Main Street.

photo of Roger Riddle, Floco Torres
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

A partnership between the Knight Foundation and a West Coast video game company aims to get people to explore Akron in a new way.

ANDREW MEYER / WKSU

Thousands are expected in downtown Akron this weekend for the 16th running of the Akron Marathon. Activities kick off Friday evening at 6:30 with the Kids Fun Run at Lock 3. The Marathon begins at 7:00 Saturday morning on High Street near University Avenue. 

 

Cleveland Clinic Akron General
JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

Cleveland Clinic Akron General unveiled its new state-of-the-art emergency department that greatly expands the hospital’s ability to treat people with life-threatening injuries.

The head of the emergency department, Dr. Steven Brooks, led a tour of the gleaming white 67,000- square-foot facility. The new ER is a stand-alone building across the street from the existing ER in downtown Akron.

Brooks pointed to equipment in one of the two acute trauma operating room.

“We can crack a chest in here. We can open the abdomen, if need be by the trauma surgeons,” he said.

photo of Karen Noel, JT Buck, Glendale Steps, Glendale Park
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Officials in Akron’s West Hill neighborhood are trying to turn the area into an arts-and-merchant district – building on a zoning amendment that was passed in the 1990s.

West Hill – just south of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, and west of downtown – is zoned to allow homeowners to open small businesses on their property. That zoning was expanded this week to include more of the neighborhood, and Karen Noel, vice-president of the West Hill Community Development Corporation, says she hopes it attracts more businesses to the area.

photo of the Akron Civic Theatre marquis
SVETLA MORRISON

Officials in Akron say they’re at “the two-yard line” when it comes to securing funding for the long-delayed, $40 million Bowery redevelopment project.

Photo of a bike at the program's announcement
BILL RINEHART / WVXU

Akron is getting $127,000 to plan for a grid of bicycle lanes throughout the city.

New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver
LYNN ROSS / KNIGHT FOUNDATION

Akron’s population has been shrinking for decades, but the city plans to get 50,000 more people to call it home by 2050. 

In addition to its own redevelopment plan, there are other civic efforts to draw on some of the things that helped make Akron in the first place. A national expert on planning came to Akron recently to size up thes efforts

Akron's Revitalization Plans Get a Good Review

Feb 9, 2018
Mitchell Silver at the Civic
Tim Rudell / WKSU

Akron is on the right trajectory. That’s what New York City’s Parks & Recreation Commissioner told local planners and interested citizens at a community conversation last night at Akron Civic Theater

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