University Park residents in Akron came out in force on Saturday, June 16 to involve members of the community in shaping an economic strategy for their neighborhood.
Over 350 neighborhood residents, engaged by the University Park Alliance, met to decide and prioritize the work and to contribute to the conversation on how to bring in additional funding.
Residents overwhelming voted for a Special Improvement District as a financial tool that would assist the neighborhood in achieving its goals. University Park Alliance is a $10 million effort supported by Knight Foundation to create a 50 block live, work, play mecca in the heart of downtown Akron.
"When I gave the opening remarks, I was almost in tears," Eric Johnson, the executive director of the University Park Alliance, told the Akron Beacon Journal, which covered the meeting in "University Park Alliance shares ideas for neighborhood." The article notes that participants used interactive keypads and computers to answer questions about their priorities; the top three included crime and safety, "neighbors helping neighbors" and economic development.