Five years after Kenmore Better Block, Boulevard revitalization is booming

Neighborhood to celebrate progress during Kenmore First Friday event on Sept. 2

August 25,2022 (Akron, OH) – Five years after Akron’s third Better Block event, Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance is inviting people back to Kenmore Boulevard to celebrate the permanent changes that have taken shape on Akron’s ‘Music Row.’

Kenmore First Friday: Kenmore Better Block 5th Anniversary will take place Friday, Sept. 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. on Kenmore Boulevard between 13th to 16th St. It will feature live music by Marc Lee Shannon & My Other Brothers, Indre, Minus the Alien, and more, plus a beer garden, children’s activities, pop-up shops and food trucks. The event is free to the public.

According to Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance Executive Director Tina Boyes, 13 additional businesses and organizations have filled Boulevard storefronts since the Kenmore Better Block, which took place Sept. 1-2, 2017. Additionally, 14 of the commercial properties have new facades, and more than $1 million in new physical improvements have happened on Kenmore Boulevard.

“The impact of the Kenmore Better Block cannot be overstated: Not only did we uncover that these three blocks were home to six recording studios, two guitar shops and a live music venue, a ‘Music Row,’ of sorts, we discovered what residents really wanted to see in our neighborhood,” Boyes said. “Those things included a coffee shop, expanded food options, clothing, gifts and more community events, and those are exactly what we’ve attracted.”

On Sept. 2, Crafty Mart will be hosting a range of local artisans along Kenmore Boulevard, and several shops will pop up in leasable storefronts, including Frankenstein Records and Buon Cibo, a restaurant concept by Kenmore resident Michael McElroy, which will be located in The Rialto Theatre’s Living Room area.

In addition, the Buzzbin Art & Music Shop will feature live music by the Honkey Tonk Kid and Donnie Casey next to what will soon be their new home at 952 Kenmore Blvd. Visitors can get a sneak peek of their new space starting at 9 p.m., when Ghost:Hello and Book of Wyrms will take the stage. The Rialto Theatre will also host the band Glenn Lazear’s album release party with special guest Talons’.

”It’s an exciting time on Kenmore Boulevard,” said Corey Jenkins, promoter and experience manager for Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance. “We’re continuing to develop the district’s identity as Akron’s Music Row, and events like this are a great opportunity for people to experience both who we are and where we’re headed.”

For more information about Kenmore First Friday, visit https://www.betterkenmore.org/first-friday.

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