Your browser does not support JavaScript I want to

Contact Info and Maps
News and Entertainment
Akron, Ohio

City of Akron Launches Innerbelt History Collection


City to host a livestreamed panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 22 to discuss the archive

City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of City of Akron Press Office
Published: 02-15-2023

Akron, Ohio, February 15, 2023 — Today, Akron has launched the Innerbelt History Collection which includes audio recordings, video recordings, photographs and maps relating to the history of the neighborhood that was displaced by the Akron Innerbelt. A core part of the collection is an oral history archive, entitled “Innerbelt Neighborhood Stories,” which shares the first-hand accounts from residents who had lived in the neighborhoods which were destroyed by the construction of the Innerbelt. The archive is available at the Summit Memory website here.

“As I’ve engaged with community members about the future of the Innerbelt, I’ve been struck by the stories of the vibrant neighborhood that the freeway displaced,” said project consultant and spatial justice activist Liz Ogbu. “If we want what happens on that land to truly reconnect the community, we must hold space to acknowledge what was there before. I’m excited to have a new platform for the voices of those who knew the neighborhood best to be heard and I hope it opens the door to meaningful conversations about the past and the future.”

The archive includes an initial batch of interviews with 8 former residents. Each interview is presented in two shortened clips: one clip speaks to the memories of the neighborhood before construction of the Innerbelt and the other accounts of how the area changed after construction. Full, unedited interviews are available by contacting the Special Collections Division of the Akron-Summit County Public Library. Additional stories will be added in the coming months.

The City will host a virtual launch event next Wednesday, February 22 from 6-7 pm which will feature a panel conversation and Q&A with project consultant Liz Ogbu, storytelling consultant and co-curator of the "Innerbelt Neighborhood Stories,” Roger Riddle, and senior pastor of Akron's House of the Lord Church and former resident of the neighborhood, Bishop Joey Johnson.

"Working on the Innerbelt Neighborhood Stories has been one of the most challenging and most rewarding projects I've ever been involved with," said Roger Riddle, the producer of the audio segments. "The discussions I had with the people I interviewed covered the love for and loss of a community that was also a support system. Their descriptions of the neighborhoods Akron lost when the Innerbelt was built could easily be a template for our neighborhoods of the future."

Akron will host watch parties of the launch event in several senior housing facilities around the city to provide greater access for some of the former residents to learn more about the archive. To take part in the Q&A portion of the event, viewers will need to register here. For those just wishing to view the event, it will also be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube page.

Engagement Opportunities

  • Beginning in March and continuing through June, members of the City’s Reconnecting Our Community Initiative will attend city council ward meetings to offer more opportunities for residents to view and listen to the archive as well as engage in conversations about the future of the Innerbelt site.
  • If you’re a former resident or business owner of the old neighborhood, you can sign up to share your story as part of the archive at
  • If you’re interested in learning more about the overall project, sign up for the mailing list here.

Project Partners

  • Akron-Summit County Public Library
  • Akron Civic Commons
  • Innerbelt Project Advisory Group
  • Bishop Joey Johnson
  • Roger Riddle

Special thanks goes to the members of the Innerbelt Project Advisory Group for their dedication to the project, the former residents who have generously shared their stories, and key staff who helped build the archive. These individuals include: Dr. Albert Bragg, Malcolm Costa, Robert Dejournette, Annmarie Ford, Vera Parker, Christopher Mitchell, Franchell Riley, Frank White, Mike Meyer, Summer Hall, Dylan Garritano, Fred Wheat, Mary Plazo, and Rebecca Larson-Troyer.

For further information, contact:
Stephanie Marsh
Chief Communications Officer
Phone: 330-375-2754
E-mail: [email protected]

Subscribe to news

Top Requests
and Concerns

Mayor Don  Plusquellic

Search | Sitemap | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Careers | Contact Us

© 2016 City of Akron. All Rights Reserved.

This page was printed from the City of Akron Web site
Visit us online at
© 2015 City of Akron. All Rights Reserved.