Downtown Akron

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

The buildings that once were home to two former retail rivals in 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.

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

Akron downtown
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

Akron will be holding the last of three meetings tomorrow night on what it will take to rejuvenate downtown and how to further the effort. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has this preview.

The meeting is expected to flesh out overall development principles Akron’s been talking about for months with concrete plans to fill in the residential   and retail gaps downtown.

Lauren Ward
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Fifty years ago, when Akron’s first shopping mall opened, it marked a beginning of the migration of retail out of downtown. These days, that mall is struggling and customers may be heading back to Main Street. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia looks at the future of retail in Akron.

Mark Arehart / WKSU

A new shopping space in downtown Akron set to open next month is betting big on small businesses.

photo of Brittany Dobish, Eugene Weaver
NIGHTLIGHT CINEMA

There’s a new leadership team at the Nightlight Cinema, and they say they want to hear from the public about what kinds of films they want to see in downtown Akron.

Assistant Director Eugene Weaver has been tapped to be the Nightlight’s new executive director. He’s joined by Brittany Dobish in the new position of artistic director. She says she’s already trying to learn more about what kinds of films Akron audiences want to see.