By Betty Lin-Fisher
The neighborhood development group University Park Alliance has been awarded nearly $8 million to continue building Akron’s urban core.
This morning, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced it was awarding UPA a $6 million grant over five years to work with neighborhood residents, local businesses and city institutions.
The foundation is also giving UPA a $1.8 million low-interest loan, which will support the redevelopment of the area called University Square. Officials call it “a linchpin of the alliance’s master plan that will provide housing and shopping for both students and residents.”
UPA is working on a project that will be developed, built and operated through self-sustaining income. It falls under what the group calls its Master Plan to revitalize a zone in downtown, said UPA Executive Director Eric Anthony Johnson.
The project, which will be along East Exchange and Brown streets near the University of Akron, will likely be a $60 million to $70 million complex and include retail, multi-family housing, office and what is called incubation space, said Johnson.
UPA is a nonprofit group supported by the university, business partners and city and county government that has been working on the redevelopment of 50 blocks around the university since 2001.
The Miami-based Knight Foundation invests in communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers, including the Beacon Journal. The foundation says its mission also supports ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.