An Akron wish list by some of the folks making it a reality
If you haven’t noticed, we like to think positively. So we pinged a bunch of our friends around Akron who are actively engaged in making this a better place to live. While we didn’t (and couldn’t) get to everyone pushing the city forward, we received some great answers from the folks we asked. Our January 2018 issue is a little different in that way. Each section features responses by some of the folks who make us proud to call this place home. Here are a few we wanted to highlight for you. Enjoy!
What do you hope to see happen for Akron in 2018? What are some of the most important things for Akron to tackle or address in 2018?
Christine Amer Mayer, President of GAR Foundation
I hope that by this time next year we will be able to point to at least one if not two or three downtown residential developments that are well underway and bringing more people and life to our downtown. This all plays a role in a more prosperous, opportunity-rich Akron.
Brent Ian Wesley, Lord Supreme Keeper or CKO (Chief Keeper Officer) at Akron Honey Company
I hope that with future revitalization on the horizon, Akron is inclusive and builds it for everyone. And I also hope that the people who are at the helm aren’t being guided about inclusion by people who are a lot like them.
James Hardy, Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Akron
Mobility. The recent A.L.I.C.E. report from United Way of Ohio found that a working poor, family of four, spends $697/month on transportation. An 8% increase since 2007. We’ve created a situation where one must have a car in order to fully participate in the economy. …If we don’t get our hands on that wheel our talent attraction and retention efforts will suffer, our businesses won’t have access to the workforce, and people will increasingly become shut out of job opportunities.
Charly Murphy, “Dogfather” at Stray Dog Cafe
We dream of micro enterprise popup markets. We hope for more construction and road closures. We hope that the Akron Pickle company finds more places to be. We hope people consume way more Norka Soda, Akron Honey, Not Yo’ Daddy’s hot sauce, Aqueduct beer. We are excited about the North Akron Community Development Corp. We are excited for new exciting Akron things!
Karen Starr, Hazel Tree Interiors Shop Owner and Lead Interior Designer
That our city moves toward a stronger sustainability focus. If we want to be a city that attracts and retains people, we’ve got to have a greater focus on environmental and social sustainability.
Aaron Rogers, Copywriter and PR at EarthQuaker Devices
I’m excited about the Nightlight’s recent expansion and I hope that cinema in Akron follows their example and continues to thrive, and I’m also excited to see new businesses popping up in the historic district and the East End.
Natalie Grieshammer, Akron Soul Train
We hope to see increased recognition of and collaboration within the arts community as well as increased visiting to Akron.
Jim Mullen, President and CEO of United Way
Equality and inclusion are the first things that comes to my mind. We have so much happening that is a positive in our community, if we can master how to ensure all of this work is representative and engaging of all people we will see incredible buy-in and success. It is imperative for us to truly have great achievement.
Beth Knorr, Summit Food Coalition Director
I’d like to see more local food businesses emerge. …Especially given there are so many neighborhoods that need affordable, nutritious, local food, I think a public market not only provides an option there, but also is a space for the food entrepreneurs to connect with the local community and grow their businesses.
Kyle Kutuchief, Akron Program Director at the Knight Foundation
I believe the progress we will see in the next year will put the city on track to meet the bold goal of reaching 200,000 residents by 2020. The City Center Hotel being converted by Testa Companies to residential is a tipping-point project. …In neighborhoods, I hope we see new construction and more rehab of older homes to broaden the range of quality housing across the city.
Tracy Emrick, Countryside Conservancy Executive Director
First, I hope that not one child in Akron goes hungry or experiences the loss of a family member to drugs or violence. That’s just a given. And on the lighter side, you know when you were a kid in school, and there was always that one friend’s house where everyone wanted to go and hang out? Yeah, something like that for Akron.
Bill Considine, CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital
Making downtown more walkable and pedestrian friendly, and connecting the Northside to downtown and downtown to its surrounding neighborhoods are worthy goals. Akron Children’s Hospital hopes to play a key role in helping to develop the Bowery Street corridor and make this a destination for families.
Nicholas J. Petroski, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Launch League
Akron could really benefit from more people taking risks and starting something. Find something that you love, or even something that irritates the heck out of you, and go out there and build something to address it. The resources are there — LaunchLeague.org, akronisforentrepreneurs.org, uakron.edu/exl/ — so there really isn’t a good reason not to (start).
Nicole Mullet, Executive Director, ArtsNow In 2018, I would love to see all of us choose kindness more often than we choose to respond with fear or anger or apathy. People occasionally mistake kindness for weakness or inaction. It is quite the opposite. Kindness demands action and bravery. It is not always the easy choice, but I believe that it will move us forward as a community in ways that will meaningfully impact our city. I would also like to see ArtsNow board member Shane Wynn have the opportunity to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2018.
Nik Pappas, Pav’s Creamery Owner
I hope the access to Luigi’s isn’t as bad as it was in 2017.