The Knight Foundation’s Akron Program Director Kyle Kutuchief says the money will help make walking downtown comfortable and safe. He says that will get residents of the hundreds of apartments opening here next year to stroll to nearby shops, restaurants and entertainment.
And it will help get thousands more people who work downtown out and about.
“The strategies that work for residents also work for employees. If we think of Cascade Plaza as being a real prime public space next year, its good for the residents that will live there and it’s great for the Huntington, PNC, FirstEnergy, city of Akron employees that are in proximity of that public space.”
In addition to Cascade Plaza, funds will be focused on the walking link between the University of Akron and Children’s Hospital and on the North High Street area.
Kutuchief says studies show Akron hasn’t presented a strong enough invitation to walkers, and that cities that open to pedestrians have been able to reinvigorate their downtowns.
“By 'invitation,’ I mean comfortable places where you feel safe taking a walk to grab lunch, to have a drink with colleagues, to grab a cup of coffee and a newspaper and just sit and enjoy the space. We believe we can do that in Akron, too.”