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Akron’s Kenmore Boulevard revitilization plans to be unveiled this week

July 30, 2018

Akron’s Kenmore Boulevard revitilization plans to be unveiled this week

AKRON, Ohio – The revitalization of Kenmore Boulevard into an active business district is moving forward with the Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance expected to make public newly drafted plans later this week.

Concepts from the Kenmore Neighborhood Plan are scheduled to be shown from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, during the monthly Busk Until Dusk on Kenmore Boulevard.

Residents are encouraged to attend and give input, as suggested improvements will encompass the entire neighborhood.

Representatives from Akron’s Office of Integrated Development are expected to attend the meeting along with urban planners from MKSK, which is working with the alliance to identify funding sources and lay the groundwork for improvements.

A $62,500 grant from the Huntington Akron Foundation paid for the plan, which the alliance and the city of Akron created. The goal is to outline neighborhood-driven strategies for short- and long-term improvements.

Ideas for the plan were sparked by resident input on the boulevard’s design, gathered at a community meeting in May. To create a slower boulevard more  friendly to cyclists and pedestrians, the city will reduce street lanes from two to one, and install bike lanes. The design has been integrated into the city’s summer repaving schedule.

Kenmore is one of Akron’s 10 Great Streets communities, an initiative Mayor Dan Horrigan announced earlier this year. The initiative melds economic development, urban planning and engineering to make improvements aimed at revising business districts.

Under Great Streets, Kenmore’s zoning will be revamped, the boulevard resurfaced and a new roof installed at the Kenmore Community Center, which offers year-round programming. The city also plans to improve crosswalks and offer competitive facade grants to the business owners on the boulevard.

“The city of Akron is prepared to invest significant resources in neighborhood business districts through its Great Streets Akron program,” said Tina Boyes, executive director of the Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance, in a news release. “Being equipped with a plan will allow Kenmore to move quickly to make what we know are high-impact improvements. This will be very good for our neighborhood.”

In June, the city opened its first Financial Empowerment Center in the former Huntington Bank on Kenmore Boulevard.

Developed through a partnership between United Way of Summit County, the city of Akron and Huntington National Bank, the center is structured to help Akron residents strengthen their financial status through free and ongoing one-one-one counseling. More financial centers are planned, the city said.

Kenmore also is a focus for the Strong Towns initiative. Funded in part through a $120,000 Knight Foundation grant, Strong Towns, a nonprofit, is working to help smaller cities such as Akron bring back economic stability through incremental investments in key neighborhoods.

In collaboration with Knight, Strong Town representatives will work all year with community development groups in Kenmore, North Hill and Middlebury to make changes that help boost economic vitality.

To learn more about the Kenmore Neighborhood Plan and take a survey, visit the website.

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