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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Horrigan Hosts Groundbreaking for Transformational Main Street Corridor Project

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City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt, Press Secretary
Published: 09-12-2018

Akron, Ohio, September 12, 2018 The City of Akron held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction on the Main Street Corridor in downtown Akron. This two-phase project is made possible through two federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants. To mark the occasion, Mayor Dan Horrigan welcomed Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13), Ohio Department of Transportation’s Deputy Director John Picuri, Ohio Edison’s Regional President Rich Sweeney and Bill Scala, president of project contractor Kenmore Construction, who each spoke at the event.

“The Main Street Corridor Project will completely transform Main Street from building face to building face, including all underground utilities, on a scale not seen in several generations,” Mayor Horrigan said. “Not only is Downtown our regional economic engine and hub for entertainment, social services and healthcare, it hosts vibrant public spaces that serve all our residents, and serves as a blossoming neighborhood for residents of diverse ages and backgrounds. These largely partner-funded investments in downtown are for the benefit of every single Akronite.”  

“This transformative process is the result of the work of a wide range of stakeholders—including elected officials at the federal and state level, city, county and civic leaders, our local businesses, and the community at large. I want to personally thank Congressman Tim Ryan, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman. Without their leadership, we would not be standing here today, breaking ground on a catalytic $31 million investment in our most critical public infrastructure.”

Phase 1 of the Main Street Corridor Project, which began July 9, 2018, will reconstruct all infrastructure along the South Main corridor width between Cedar and Mill Streets, including: new pavement with a lane dedicated to parking/buses/delivery vehicles,  new sidewalks, a permanent bicycle track, upgraded underground utilities, upgraded traffic signal equipment, smart LED lighting, a roundabout at Main and Mill Streets, storm water management improvements, and a complete rebuild of the State Street bridge.

Also, announced today, was the addition of a water feature, to be located at the center of the roundabout at Mill and Main Street, which will be designed in partnership with local arts organizations. Additional details on the proposed water feature will be announced as they are decided.

Work on Phase 1 began is expected to be completed in 2020. Initial work includes the installation of traffic signals, underground utility work, and temporary paving necessary to divert traffic during construction. Construction of the new permanent roadway begins this month.

During the groundbreaking event, Congressman Ryan highlighted the importance of quality of life investments to attracting and retaining young talent and new businesses to the City and drew parallels with Akron’s innovative partnership with eBay on the Retail Revival program. John Picuri, ODOT Deputy Director, acknowledged the inconvenience of orange barrels, but emphasized that construction represents progress, highlighting the $500 million in complimentary investments being made by ODOT across greater Akron. 

Ohio Edison’s Regional President Rich Sweeney discussed the $15 million investment being made by First Energy to modernize and rebuild the entire electrical network serving downtown, including operational flexibility and real time monitoring representing a new era of technology. Bill Scala, President and CEO of Kenmore Construction acknowledged the essential role the public plays in supporting and shaping how Downtown will look and feel for this and future generations.

The City of Akron was awarded a second, $8 million TIGER grant in 2018 to help fund Phase 2 of the Main Street Corridor Project. Phase 2 will extend improvements to an additional segment of Main Street from Mill Street to Perkins Street/Route 59. It is the second phase of a 1.4-mile green corridor through the heart of the city. The stretch is designed to connect people to centers of education, employment, innovation, entrepreneurship, culture, entertainment and recreation.

The Main Street Corridor Project is designed to:

  • Provide “Ladders of Opportunity” by increasing access to education, jobs and opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship

  • Construct a welcoming gateway to those who live, work, play in Downtown Akron

  • Transform the corridor with a that enhances accessibility among all modes of transportation while increasing safety, productivity and public health

  • Serve as a fulcrum that leverages private reinvestment to adjacent vacant and blighted structures and promotes the high-density, mixed-use development of underutilized parcels

  • Steward ecological resources by increasing energy efficiency and incorporating green infrastructure

  • Promote infill storefront redevelopment for local independent niche/boutique retailers by activating the streetscape and generating additional foot traffic in Downtown Akron

  • Boost the efficiency of existing transportation investments by building on momentum resulting from recent adjacent infrastructure investments

  • Produce a model for regional collaboration and strategic investment through synergetic public-private partnerships.

Throughout construction, the City will host various stakeholder engagement activities in collaboration with the Downtown Akron Partnership, to ensure sustained dialogue about the project and its impact on the downtown community.

 

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For further information, contact:
Heather Bolestridge
Communications Manager, Main Street Corridor Project
Phone: (330) 375-2501
E-mail: [email protected]

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