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Akron, Ohio

North Hill Area to Experience “The Better Block”

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City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of stephanie york
Published: 09-12-2014

 

 

Akron, Ohio (September 12) -   The City of Akron, Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS), Knight Foundation, and The Better Block, are teaming up to create a “Better Block” in a North Hill neighborhood.  In October, these groups will facilitate the rebuilding (temporarily) of the area on N. Main Street between Frances Ave. and Cuyahoga Falls Ave., transforming it into a fully occupied, revitalized, bustling, and vibrant district.

The Better Block is a community development demonstration tool that rebuilds an area using grassroots efforts to show the potential to create a great walkable, bikeable, lively, neighborhood center.  Throughout The Better Block, “pop-up” businesses will be erected to show the potential for revitalized economic activity in an area.  Better Blocks are being performed in cities around the world, and have helped communities rapidly implement neighborhood improvements that can become permanent.

“The premise of the Better Block is to start small, with one block at a time, and to actually do something,” said Josh McManus, Akron Program Director, Knight Foundation.  “It could be a temporary new bike lane; it could be temporary street art or street furniture; it could be a makeshift coffee shop, or art gallery, or beer garden.  The choices are endless.”

“The important thing is to do something new in a neighborhood, let people see it, let people experience it, and, most importantly, let them participate in creating it,” noted Mayor Don Plusquellic.  “I think people will be amazed at how vibrant and welcoming their neighborhood can be after experiencing the physical transformation of their block.”

“The Owners of the vacant properties on the designated block have already agreed to ‘lend’ the buildings to us for the day,” said Jason Segedy, Director of AMATS.  “We have also started assembling a large list of stakeholders throughout the community -- local people excited and interested in this project, who are ready to mobilize. These people will build, borrow or—as a last resort—buy the materials that they need to transform their blocks.”

Ward 2 Councilman Jim Hurley will be discussing The Better Block concept with residents at his upcoming Ward meeting on Wednesday, September 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Forest Hill Elementary.  Jason Segedy will speak about the event and answer questions.  Also invited to the event to speak is Josh McManus.

“The Better Block recognizes that the work of rebuilding our cities begins one person at a time, one block at a time, one street at a time, one neighborhood at a time,” said Jason Roberts (of The Better Block), who will be in Akron to help organize stakeholders and to match volunteers with specific tasks. “When coupled with visionary and innovative leadership from the public sector, the private sector, non-profits and the philanthropic community, this approach can be truly transformative.”

For more information about this project, please contact Jason Segedy at 330-283-4401.

 

For further information, contact:
stephanie york
communications director
Phone: 330-375-2345
E-mail: syork@akronohio.gov

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