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Cuyahoga Falls City Council Votes Tonight On $10 Million Downtown Makeover

Two blocks of Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls' were converted to a pedestrian mall in 1978, but the area rarely gets visitors aside from events, such as last month's Better Block Cuyahoga Falls.
Two blocks of Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls' were converted to a pedestrian mall in 1978, but the area rarely gets visitors aside from events, such as last month's Better Block Cuyahoga Falls.
Two blocks of Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls' were converted to a pedestrian mall in 1978, but the area rarely gets visitors aside from events, such as last month's Better Block Cuyahoga Falls.
Credit KABIR BHATIA / WKSU
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The north end of the Front Street pedestrian mall would close for sewer work in April under the plan, with summer festivals taking place only on the south end. By mid-July, the plan calls for the entire mall to close for the re-opening of Front Street to automobiles.

Cuyahoga Falls City Council will vote tonight on whether to proceed with the $10 million makeover of the city’s mostly empty pedestrian mall.

The plan to redevelop Front Street has been percolating for three years; Mayor Don Walters usually jokes that the street was closed to automobiles in 1978, and they began regretting the decision in 1979.

He says council is enthusiastic about the proposal to open the street up to cars and refurbish much of the two-block area. And he adds that the new shopping area will probably also benefit from the struggles of Chapel Hill Mall in Akron, which has lost two of its three anchor stores in recent years.

“A lot of the smaller shops within there are already looking to relocate, and they would do well in a downtown environment.”

He says the nearby Howe Avenue shopping corridor, which is in Cuyahoga Falls, should not be greatly affected by a revitalized Front Street, since it has mostly big-box stores.

As part of the plan, the Front Street amphitheater would remain, while the ice rink, clock tower and fountains would be relocated within the new shopping district.

“We’re going to re-do the kids’ splash pad, the fountain that they play in during the summer. We’re re-doing the fountain to the north. And we have renderings on what it will look like. As far as new stores and shops that will come in, we have a broker working to bring them in, but we don’t have people signing anything yet because it hasn’t been finalized by city council.”

If approved, work on Front Street is slated to begin next week and would wrap up by New Year’s Eve.

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