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City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt
Published: 04-10-2020

AKRON, OH, April 10, 2020 – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Akron and the Akron Parks Collaborative are delaying its third annual Akron Parks Challenge until April 2021.  The Akron Parks Challenge invites neighborhood residents, leaders and organizations alike to pitch their vision for their favorite park and how they can partner to achieve the change they wish to see. 

“Since the program’s launch in 2018, $600,000 in City of Akron funds leveraged $367,200 in private funds to help transform five City parks,” Deputy Mayor for Integrated Development James Hardy said. In addition, Friends groups have formed around each park and the ongoing stewardship and pride has resulted in less trash and vandalism and an increase in park use. This year, the City of Akron and the Akron Parks Collaborative will continue to work with previous Akron Parks Challenge recipients to finalize their community visions and park plans with the funding allocated to them in 2019. “By all measures, the Akron Parks Challenge has been a community success story,” Hardy continued.  

“During this month of mainly homebound activities due to the pandemic, we’ve heard from many residents about their excitement to get outside and go to their parks,” added Bridget Ambrisco, Executive Director of the Akron Parks Collaborative. “Now, more than ever, we know the value that parks have on our neighborhoods and communities, and we’re looking forward to the Challenge being back and stronger than ever in 2021.”

In 2019, 54 applications were submitted, representing all ten wards—and two parks were selected, including Elizabeth Park and Ohio & Erie Canal Park (formerly named Park East).

"As leaders, we understand how important our parks are to the overall well-being of our residents. These are places where everyone can come together as members of the same community to socialize, exercise, and enjoy the outdoors. We look forward to the day when we can fully open up our playgrounds and courts again, and we look to 2021 to bring back the Parks Challenge to continue to improve these important neighborhood spaces," Mayor Dan Horrigan remarked.

As a reminder, as of April 10, 2020, all City playgrounds and equipment are currently closed until further notice to prevent spread of the coronavirus/COVID19. Residents may still visit a City park to enjoy the open space, but are urged to carefully practice 6 or more feet of physical distancing from persons outside their household.  

Akron Parks Challenge partners include the City of Akron, Akron Parks Collaborative, Akron Civic Commons and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

For more information, please visit

For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary
Phone: 330-375-2325
E-mail: [email protected]

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