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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Horrigan and Councilman Swirsky Propose Donation of Vacant City Lot for Community Orchard in West Hill


City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt, Press Secretary
Published: 03-06-2017

Akron, Ohio, March 6, 2017— Today Akron City Council will consider legislation that would authorize the City to donate a vacant lot at 115 South Maple Street to the West Hill Neighborhood Organization (WHNO) for the future site of a community nut orchard. This nut orchard will complement the fruit orchard recently planted by WHNO across the street, with 28 fruit trees donated by the City of Akron.

Last fall, the City donated 28 semi-dwarf fruit trees in seven varieties, including apple, apricot, pear, plum, cherry, peach and aprium (a plum and apricot hybrid) to WHNO as part of its pledge to replace every single tree removed through the City’s EPA-mandated sewer project with two new trees.  The fruit orchard, which also includes two paw paw trees, was planted on land WHNO bought from the Summit County Land Bank. With the help of the City’s Lock 3 Summer Arts Experience students, the WHNO installed a beautiful, decorative fence and gate for the fruit orchard. Across the street, WHNO is hoping to plant a nut orchard with chestnut, almond, walnut, cashew trees.

“We were pleased to support the West Hill Neighborhood Organization in creating this community oasis on South Maple, all while keeping our environmental promise to our residents, beautifying the neighborhood, and putting idle property to good use, which reduces the cost to taxpayers in maintaining vacant lots,” Mayor Horrigan said of the proposed donation. 

“Within a few years, this neighborhood will be teeming with life with fully-functioning, pick-your-own fruit and nut orchards, a sitting garden, a monarch butterfly way station, a living sculpture being developed by University of Akron students, and soon the West Hill apiary,” Karen Noel, Vice President of WHNO said. “The support and partnership of the City was indispensable in making all this possible, as was the generosity of many neighbors, donors, and volunteers. We believe this kind of support and collaboration from a city is very rare.”

The idea for the community orchards grew out of a meeting held by Ward 1 Councilman Rich Swirsky where 90 residents from the neighborhood brainstormed ideas for how to revitalize this area. “I applaud the residents of West Hill for coming together to develop a series of actions to revitalize their neighborhood and putting in the hard work to see it through.  I thank Mayor Horrigan and the administration for listening and being responsive to the needs of the residents and taking action to help make the community’s vision a reality.”

City Council is expected to vote on the land donation as early as this evening.



For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary / Assistant Director of Law
166 South High Street, Suite 200
Akron, Ohio 44308
Phone: (330) 375-2325
E-mail: [email protected]

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