If you drive on Interstate 76/77 through Akron, you've seen Summit Lake. But did you know there is only one bench at the lake and it faces away from the lake?
The lack of amenities around Summit Lake could soon change thanks to the Knight Foundation and the Trust for Public Land. An environmental study is getting underway to find out what uses are possible for the lake. Kyle Kutuchief from the Knight Foundation and Matt Schmidt from the Trust for Public Land joined Jasen to talk about what's ahead.
A community meeting to discuss the future of Summit Lake will be held on January 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Summit Lake Community Center.
The Knight Foundation has selected more than 150 finalists in the second annual Knight Cities Challenge -- including 10 ideas submitted in the Akron area. The national challenge is focused on picking some of the best ideas that would make cities more successful.
"One of the reasons theses ideas were selected, along with the rest across the country, is they're relatively short term," said Akron program director Kyle Kutuchief. "They can be completed within 18 months, so I think the community will be seeing these projects in the year ahead."
The winners will be announced this spring and will receive a share of $5 million.
"I get to focus on Akron, but we're always looking at what other cities are doing for inspiration, said Kutuchief. "But we are thrilled with the 10 that won locally and I'm hoping to assist as many of them as possible and actually getting funding."
Here are the 10 ideas that were selected in Akron this year:
#Route10: Akron's Better Bus Stop Project by 8 80 Cities (submitted by Alyssa Bird): Encouraging new conversations about transit and life in the city of Akron with a daylong event that invites civic leaders to experience newly animated bus stops along Route 10, featuring entertainment and new amenities.
Coffee/Drink/Dance (submitted by Annal Vyas): Creating a new website that pairs residents who don't know one another to attend events and meet for conversations that help break down barriers between people from across the city.
Middlebury House by Akron Honey Co. (submitted by: Brent Wesley): Developing the Akron Honey Co.'s apiary in the historic Middlebury neighborhood into a community space for recreation, education and other activities that help residents connect with each other and other areas of the city.
Cuyahoga Explore-a-Foot (submitted by Brian Davis): Encouraging visitors to explore remote regions of Cuyahoga Valley National Park by providing services and amenities, such as help with travel arrangements and baggage transport, that make it more accessible.
Akron Shorts by The Devil Strip (submitted by Chris Horne): Strengthening civic engagement by installing stations around the city that would dispense art, stories, trivia, games and more, and encourage the public to share their own creations with fellow residents.
Akron Innerbelt Bike Park (submitted by Jonathan Morschl): Providing new life for an abandoned section of highway by creating a "bicycle park" that promotes cycling, encourages new riders and attracts cyclists from throughout the region and nation.
Invite Akron by Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park (submitted by Jen McAnlis-Harvey): Encouraging use of the area's premier public space, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, by inviting residents from every walk of life, and especially those who don't regularly visit the park, to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial with free transportation and events.
Developing Community Blue Zones: Keys to Longer, Healthier Lives by Akron General Health System/Akron General Foundation (submitted by Laura Jo Hawk): Exploring how to create successful "Blue Zones" in Akron, areas that promote healthful living conditions and options, such as developing walking trails, shedding stress and eliminating food deserts.
One Lake One Community by #KenmoreUnited (submitted by Nolan James): Bringing together residents from different sides of Summit Lake who don't traditionally interact through a meal and celebration that encourages use of the lake as a shared resource.
Akron Tread Lightly (submitted by Shane Wynn): Encouraging biking throughout the city with a campaign that emphasizes the variety of experiences and amenities that are available by exploring the urban core on two wheels.