Knight Foundation $120,000 grant brings Strong Towns to Akron to spur ideas for economic stability

Akron Community Blog

By Jennifer Conn, Akron reporter,

Strong Towns President Charles Marohn presents at the 2016 Canadian Institute of Planners Conference. Marohn will speak in Akron at 5:45 p.m., April 17 at the Akron Civic Theatre. (Rob McMorris)

AKRON, Ohio – A new initiative launching this month is expected to help Akron boost its economic vitality while laying the groundwork for similar cities across the nation.

Strong Towns, a Minnesota-based nonprofit, is working to help smaller cities like Akron bring economic stability back through incremental investments in key neighborhoods.

The year-long project in Akron, funded in part through a $120,000 Knight Foundation grant, will be groundbreaking for Strong Towns.

While the group will continue to work with other cities, it plans to invest a majority of time and energy in partnerships with the Knight Foundation and Akron’s community development groups in North Akron, Middlebury and Kenmore, said Rachel Quenau, Strong Towns Communications Director.

“We see so much possibility, if people redirected their efforts to small-scale incremental investments that focus on the city’s core neighborhoods,” Quenau said.

Strong Towns will conduct a tax analysis of key areas of the city to identify where Akron would gain the most through investment. It also will share examples of similar cities that had success through initiatives that could be tailored for Akron.

The outcome of the work could be a model for other similar cities.

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