Akron breaks ground on Lock 3 renovations
The city of Akron broke ground on renovations to Lock 3 on Thursday. The project, led by residents, aims to transform the downtown park into a world class public space for events, concerts and festivals.
The work will include gardens, sitting areas and a performance pavilion.
“With his pitching wedge, Mayor [Dan] Horrigan could put a golf ball on the roof of the Akron Civic Theater, the University of Akron’s Polsky Building, home plate at Canal Park and the helipad over at Akron Children’s Hospital," Knight Foundation Program Director Kyle Kutuchief said.
The project was spearheaded by the Akron Civic Commons, a collaborative effort that aims to center the voices of community members in conversations about public spaces.
"To build a more equitable and successful Akron, our city needs more places that intentionally invite and connect people of all backgrounds and foster much needed empathy, understanding and fun," Kutuchief said.
Akron Civic Commons aims to achieve that equity by including the voices of community members who are often left out of key conversations.
"Through our many many community meetings and listening sessions, we have truly co-created, co-designed and co-stewarded outstanding parks and trails and open spaces for everybody to enjoy right here in Akron," Akron City Council President Margo Sommerville said.
Officials hope the renovations will make the park accessible, equitable and welcoming.
Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition President and CEO Dan Rice is excited about what’s to come.
“Imagine if you will a balcony up there on the main street that is inviting and welcoming for people to come into the space and have lunch with their colleagues, or maybe University of Akron students will come down," Rice said. "Children at the Akron Children’s Museum will be playing in the lawn area. There will be walking in the formal garden.”
The renovation will also include an ice skating rink, bringing year round entertainment.
“The end result is that you’ll see a crown jewel of what’s going to be right here on Main Street," Mayor Horrigan said.
The park also lies on the Towpath Trail, making it a destination for bikers and hikers.
The project is expected to be completed in late 2024.