Making Strides on the Boulevard: 2019 Year in Review

Updated: Dec 31, 2019

This year has been one of history, creativity and fun on Kenmore Boulevard, and we have the donors and volunteers of Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance to thank. From cleanups and beautification efforts to street festivals and district marketing, this diverse group of residents is working hard to create an enjoyable, engaging Boulevard experience. Here are a few of the highlights.


On September 6, Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance achieved a major goal: the National Park Service added the Kenmore Boulevard Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places. It was the result of a yearlong effort by KNA with support from the Kenmore Historical Society, City of Akron, State Historic Preservation Office and architects Chambers Murphy & Burge. The goal: to instill pride of place among residents and Boulevard property owners, encourage investment and improve people’s perceptions of our community.

KNA’s volunteer Design & Beautification Committee also partnered with the City of Akron Department of Comprehensive Planning to create special zoning that will preserve the historic scale and charm of the Boulevard. This Urban Overlay also prevents new empty street-fronting spaces like new open-air car lots and out-of-character construction that can detract from the district. We are grateful for their hard work.


In July, Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance commissioned a mural by Kenmore resident Caleb Aronhalt called “Kenmore Ohio,” which brought color and community pride to the side of 998 Kenmore Blvd. The mural was created in partnership with the University of Akron Art Bomb Brigade, including Kenmore residents Arlie & Paula Sandusky Holman and dozens of local art students. It has quickly become a point of pride and de facto selfie spot for residents and visitors alike. So if you haven’t already done so, snap a selfie and post it to your social media accounts with the hashtag #kenmorerocks. Our social media team loves sharing.


We are grateful to neighborhood groups like Kenmore Kiwanis, First Glance Man Up, Youth2Adults, Girl Scout Service Unit 926 and Church on the Boulevard, as well as volunteers Ryan Boyes and Randy & Debbie Blake for working hard to keep the Boulevard and 18th Street Prayer Garden clean and inviting. Are you looking for an easy service project? KNA is always looking for individuals and groups to help with trash pickup and landscaping help for our Clean Team. Let us know!


In June, KNA worked with the city to install light pole banners in the Kenmore Boulevard median. This is thanks to KNA’s Promotions Committee, which works to brand Kenmore Boulevard as the center of commerce, culture and community for residents and visitors alike. The banners each represent an aspect of Kenmore, from our musical present, trolley car past and coffee and culinary future. We are grateful to TRIAD Communications Design4Good program for donating their banner design services and to resident Jason Chamberlain for the logo concept.


This summer, more than 1,500 people returned to Kenmore Boulevard for live music, food, shopping and free family fun during Kenmore First Fridays. An all-volunteer committee organized an outdoor marketplace, free hands-on activities like art-making, ukulele-playing and golf instruction, food trucks and live performances from some of the region’s best musicians. Artists like Floco Torres, Marc Lee Shannon, Colin John and hometown boys Mr. Pink entertained folks on nearly every corner of Kenmore Boulevard from 13th to 16th St. Food from Flamingo Jack’s Food Truck and Johnny Lotes Latin Street Corn, plus Pierre’s Brooklyn Pizza & Deli, the Kenmore Eastern Sports Bar and Live Music Now Beer Garden made Kenmore Boulevard the place to be for great music, eats and local brews. With your help, the KNA Promotions & Events Committee hopes to make these events bigger and better in 2020.


Thanks to our volunteers, supporters, funders and you, we accomplished much together in 2019. But as we all know, much work remains to be done. Here’s how you can help.

1. Volunteer: Have time or a talent you’d like to contribute to the community? Does your organization or teen need community service hours? Let us know.

2. Donate: All gifts, big and small, can make a huge difference. KNA is a 501(c)(3) charity, so gifts are tax deductible. You can give online or make your checks payable to Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance, 1014 Kenmore Blvd. Akron, OH 44314.

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