AKRON — Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Akron Parks Collaborative announced the third installment of the Akron Parks and Challenge 2021 winners. The winners are Kerr Park in West Akron (Ward 4) and Jewett Park in Middlebury (Ward 10). Each received a City of Akron grant of $100,000.
The Akron Parks Challenge launched on April 1, 2021. It was designed to invite residents to pitch ideas for their vision to improve their favorite parks in Akron by collaborating with their neighborhood to support design, implementation, and upkeep.
“The Akron Parks Challenge allows us as city leaders to hear directly from our residents about what they want to see in their local parks,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan.
Kerr Park aims to attract more regular visitors to the park. In its application, the submitting team stated, “We believe this park is a key element to accomplishing success for the district, children, families, and the community. This grant will help to build memories from gatherings, festivals, and many other activities at the park.”
E.J. Brinson of the Summit County Think Tank Coalition stated that Kerr Park had not seen this type of support since the Maple Valley Garden Club partnered with the city 50+ years ago.
The organizer in Jewett Park of Middlebury expects to increase the use of the park to create a beautiful and accessible property for the neighborhood by making the park accessible with lighting upgrades, pavilions with picnic tables, permanent games, adult swings, and benches. They also plan to clean up the space and plant more trees.
The Akron Parks Collaborative board reviewed and judged the submission based on measures of feasibility, sustainability, equity, and neighborhood impact.
“It was the hardest year yet to choose only two parks. Our board and reviewers were impressed by the levels of enthusiasm and engagement and the thoughtful inclusivity and community cooperation we saw across applications,” said Bridget Ambrisco, executive director of Akron Parks Collaborative.
The development plan of the winner will begin to work with The City of Akron and Akron Parks Collaborative over the next several months, which will start with public meetings, events, surveys, and discussions with neighborhood stakeholders.
For more information on the Akron Parks Challenge, please visit akronparks.org.