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Akron, Ohio

City of Akron to Honor Rubber Workers with Main Street Statue

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City of Akron Press Release
Published: 09-24-2019

Akron, Ohio, September 24, 2019 – The City of Akron will commemorate Akron’s rubber heritage with a 12 ft. bronze rubber worker statue, which will be prominently featured in the center of the newly redeveloped Main Street.  The statue of a rubber worker preparing a finished tire for shipping will be installed in the highly visible roundabout at the corner of Main and Mill Streets next summer. Northeast Ohio sculptor Alan Cottrill, will create the piece, inspired by the image on the cover of David Giffels and Steve Love’s book “Wheels of Fortune.” 

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan jumped at the opportunity to pay homage to the dedication of Akron’s rubber workers in such a prominent way.  “As we considered the appropriate centerpiece for the new roundabout, it became clear that, instead of honoring a historical leader, we should take this opportunity to honor and elevate the average worker,” he said.  “This commemorative statue will pay tribute to the lives of Akron rubber workers and their families. Without the sacrifices of these workers, Akron would not be the city it is today.”

Akron will forever be linked to the Rubber Industry due to the ‘Rubber Capital of the World’ era when four major tire companies were headquartered in the City. These companies grew and prospered on the labor of the thousands of rubber workers that flocked to Akron to better their lives.  Once constructed, the rubber worker statute will be the first in Akron honoring these men and women and the role they played in building Akron and the rubber and tire industry.

The statue will sit on a three-tiered granite base, including an 18-inch piece of granite shaped like the City of Akron, which will sit on a 24-inch thick base shaped like Summit County. Water will cascade down from those pieces onto another 24-inch base where water will be collected and recycled. Landscaping and lighting will surround the piece. The City will create a tribute area for the rubber workers and their families on the Northeast corner nearest to the roundabout, to provide visitors with an opportunity to safely engage with the art and the commemorative theme. The design of the roundabout will specifically discourage pedestrians from approaching the statue directly. 

The City has partnered with the local residents who have a great interest in seeing the story of Akron’s rubber workers be collected and stored. The group is selling commemorative bricks and collecting stories on the website www.akronstories.com. The bricks will be placed in the Northeast corner of the roundabout (adjacent to the Akron-Summit County Library) along with tasteful benches, a kiosk that will tell the story of the rubber worker, and other elements.

The statue would not be possible without the financial support of local partners, including Huntington Bank, FirstEnergy, PNC, Akron Children’s Hospital, GPD Group, and the Office of Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro.  The City will host a ribbon cutting for the roundabout and statue upon the completion of the Main Street Corridor Project in the summer of 2020. 

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For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary
Phone: 330375-2325
E-mail: [email protected]

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