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The Plan for the Innerbelt May Be 'Go Slow'

The Innerbelt skirts along the west side of downtown Akron, then cuts into the near northside. When it was built in the 70s, it separated the Oak Park neighborhood from downtown.
The Innerbelt skirts along the west side of downtown Akron, then cuts into the near northside. When it was built in the 70s, it separated the Oak Park neighborhood from downtown.
The abandoned stretch of Akron's Innerbelt cuts into the near northwest of downtown.
Credit M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU
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The abandoned stretch of Akron's Innerbelt cuts into the near northwest of downtown.

Akron continues to try to figure out what to do with the 31 acres of decommissioned highway that cuts into downtown’s northwest side. 

At a conference on 21st century cities, Akron planners and engineers got more feedback last week from national experts on what to do with the stretch of Route 59 now closed to traffic. And that advice is to go slow. City Planner Jason Segedy says that makes sense given the city budget and location of the roadway.

“The very things that made it an isolating transportation facility does make it a challenge to reuse because it’s in a big trench. So I think we have to be cautious about how we proceed with redeveloping it.”

Segedy says at this point, he favors a linear park, with topsoil loaded on top of the road, rather than investing in the major expense of tearing up the concrete. Mayor Dan Horrigan recently outlined the project to the Mayors' Institute for City Design to get its input.

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