Neighborhood Plans

Click to see either of the Neighborhood Plans!

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ACTION (taking “the plan off the shelf”)

Both Neighborhood Plans are guiding Neighborhood Network’s work in the Middlebury and University Park neighborhoods. See the list below to learn more about what Neighborhood Network along with our partners are doing to accomplish the action items listed in the “Implementation Tables” found at the end of each neighborhood plan!

  • University Park Neighborhood Plan (completed August 2020)
    1. Connectivity | Improve Neighborhood Connection
      • Participates in the Rubber City Heritage Trail planning committee
      • Coordinated resident-led walk audits to assess the public space (street, sidewalk and vacant land) which has been used to inform planning committees focused on enhancing priority connections (2020 Report) (2021 MB Report) (2021 UP Report)
      • Developed a residential porch light program and campaign to improve safety in the neighborhood
        • NN has installed more than 400 solar powered, motion detected security lights in the University Park and Middlebury neighborhoods
        • AND by the end of 2021 will have distributed 1,000 resource bags with information about NN programming, neighborhood resources and a two-pack of LED light bulbs so all University Park neighbors can participate in the call to action to turn on their front porch light at night to improve safety
    2. Parks & Public Spaces | Emphasize the PARK in University Park
      • Participates in the Rubber City Heritage Trail planning committee
      • Worked with the City of Akron to dedicate the vacant property, between Leggett CLC and Boss Park, as a public space to be maintained and protected by the City
      • Working with community partners, residents and businesses to make Boss Park into a true neighborhood destination and gathering space
      • Toured community partners and journalists through the University Park neighborhood and Boss Park to educate them on the challenges and opportunities of the neighborhood
      • Currently conducting the Boss Park Survey to see what neighbors want in the food forest and mental health oasis; take the survey here!
    3. Authentic Activation | Encourage Context Sensitive Development
      • Partnered with Akron Glass Works to host a community event offered three times during the summer of 2021 – Hot Glass Jam: Glassblowing Demonstration and Neighborhood Social near Abbot Court (where the Neighborhood Plan identified as a potential “Arts District”)
      • Encouraged and facilitated home repairs through Habitat for Humanity of Summit County’s Critical Home Repair program to maintain the existing number of low income and supportive housing options indistinguishable from market rate housing
      • Hired an intern to catalog underutilized structures along Grant Street leveraging the nearby businesses – passed on to City of Akron’s economic development department
    4. Neighborhood Stabilization | Invest in People and Homes
  • Middlebury Neighborhood Plan (completed March 2019)
    1. Enhance Priority Connections
      • Participated in Safe Routes to School planning committee to support traffic calming and bike lanes planned for East Exchange Street
      • Participated in the East Market Street study planning committee to reconfigure the street to accommodate all modes of transportation, on-street parking and pedestrian crossings
      • Coordinated resident-led walk audits to assess the public space (street, sidewalk and vacant land) which has been used to inform planning committees focused on enhancing priority connections (2020 Report) (2021 MB Report) (2021 UP Report)
    2. Improve Neighborhoods Parks & Open Spaces
      • Invested in public spaces and community gardens including: Adams Park, Jewett Park, Adolph Community Garden, LINKS Community Garden, WOMB Community Garden, Hazel/Arlington LINKS Community and Family Services public space and continued data collection on public spaces via the Middlebury and University Park Walk Audits
      • Raised $260 to fund the replacement plaque on the Middlebury Millstone Monument, located on East Market Street near the new Fire Station No. 2
      • Participates in the Rubber City Heritage Trail planning committee
    3. Explore Opportunities for Entrepreneurship
      • Hired an intern to identify and catalog underutilized and vacant structures for adaptive reuse
      • Participates in the Middlebury Workforce Coalition partnership
      • Hired an intern to catalog underutilized structures along the Freedom Trail and Rubber City Heritage Trail, leveraging the nearby anchor institutions – passed on to City of Akron’s economic development department
    4. Strengthen Middlebury Marketplace
    5. Improve Existing Housing & Neighborhood Amenities
      • Encouraged and facilitated home repairs through Habitat for Humanity of Summit County’s Critical Home Repair program to maintain the existing number of low income and supportive housing options indistinguishable from market rate housing
      • Created options for existing residents to age in place or stay in the neighborhood by choice through our Summa Health sponsored Aging In Place Pilot Program.

The University Park Neighborhood Plan is complete!

We’re excited to announce the completion of the University Park Neighborhood Plan! Completed in August 2020, this plan is part of a series of investments in planning and community development by the City of Akron, in partnership with community organizations and non-profits. The Middlebury Neighborhood Plan was completed by the Well CDC a few years before the University Park plan, and shares the same structure. Both focus on priorities that neighbors brought forward and the action steps that can be taken to solve them.

Over the period of approximately nine months, a Core Team, a community-led Steering Committee and hundreds of community members have come together to shape University Park’s future.

A team of planners from MKSK have worked together with Habitat for Humanity of Summit County and the City of Akron on this neighborhood plan, developing the following framework, referred to as the Plan Building Blocks. Within each of the Building Blocks there are detailed recommendations that are actionable ways to achieve the goals of this plan.

Plan Building Blocks

  1. Connectivity: Improve Neighborhood Connections
  2. Parks & Open Spaces: Put the Park in University Park
  3. Authentic Activation: Context Sensitive Development
  4. Neighborhood Stabilization: Invest in People and Homes

We invite you to review the FULL University Park and Middlebury Neighborhood Plans by clicking the buttons above and following the action items!


Why is the University Park Neighborhood Plan an important step for our community?

ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY PARK NEIGHBHORHOOD PLAN
The University Park Neighborhood Plan is in process and underway! This effort will create a document to guide priorities, initiatives, and investments in this community moving forward. Project updates and participation opportunities will be posted regularly. Thank you in advance for helping to shape University Park’s future!

WHY THIS PLAN?
In partnership with MKSK, the neighborhood plan will take a comprehensive look at the state of University Park and develop strategic recommendations for neighborhood enhancement and improvements to be completed by early 2020. MKSK will collaborate with Habitat for Humanity of Summit County and the City of Akron Planning and Urban Development Department to complete the plan.

APPROACH
This will be a collaborative process involving neighborhood leaders. We will engage the community using a variety of methods. We will meet with key neighborhood, business, institutional, city and other stakeholders in focus group style meetings. Additional public engagement will take place at community events and gatherings where we can gain input in a fun and festive way. We will frequently update the project website with information and surveys.

PROJECT GOALS & OBJECTIVES
• Create a culture of cross-sector collaborative planning
• Improved vision for common community assets
• Provide a platform for economic development over the next 5-10 years
• Create a blueprint for both immediate and long-term improvement

PROJECT TIME FRAME
July 2019 – February 2020 (August 2020, adjusted for COVID-19)


Previous University Park Neighborhood Plan Events

FINAL University Park Neighborhood Plan Community Meeting
Tuesday, February 4th, 2020 from 6pm – 8pm
Family of Faith UMC, 800 East Market Street, Akron, Ohio

University Park Neighborhood Plan Community Meeting #2 Presentation LINK
Tuesday, December 3rd from 6pm – 8pm
Family of Faith UMC, 800 East Market Street, Akron, Ohio

University Park Neighborhood Plan Community Meeting #1 PowerPoint LINK
Tuesday, October 1st from 6pm – 8pm
Family of Faith UMC, 800 East Market Street, Akron, Ohio