Despite growing up in Wadsworth, Jess Forrest has always felt a special connection to Akron — from being treated for cancer as a child at Akron Children’s Hospital to attending Our Lady of the Elms for high school, followed by undergraduate and law school at The University of Akron. She met her best friends at Ray’s Pub and even got married at the Signal Tree.
She has lived in Highland Square for about 15 years now, and she loves the walkability of the neighborhood.
“That’s always been really important to me, probably for the wrong reason.When I was first in college, I was like, ‘oh, I can walk to the bars!’” she jokes.
Beyond that, though, Jess says that one of her favorite things is getting up on the weekend and seeing all the people exploring her neighborhood.
“You can just see all these different people out. Some people are going to the library, some people are walking their dogs, some people are stumbling home from the night before. Some people are getting coffee. You can go to bars, you can go to restaurants, the movie theater is amazing,” she says.
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For her, Akron is also the ideal city. “We have a lot of things that Cleveland has, but in a smaller, more inviting, cheaper way,” she says.
Even though it’s hard to remember what makes Akron unique during COVID times, Jess does what she can to give back to the community. She is on the board for Our Lady of the Elms and helps plan Porch Rocker every year.
Although her love for Akron prevails, Jess does have one dirty little secret: “I have never actually completed the Summit Metro Parks Fall Hiking Spree, but if people think that I do it, I just let them believe that. It’s like an Akron thing that I should do,” she laughs.
When she picks up The Devil Strip, Jess’s favorite thing to learn about is her neighbors and fellow community members who leave their artistic mark on the city, whether it’s painters, musicians, or photographers.