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HUD Grant Will Help AMHA, Summit Lake Reimagine Affordable Housing


A $450,000 federal grant aims to continue a decade of progress at Akron’s Summit Lake.

What was once dubbed the “Million Dollar Playground” had a large amusement park surrounded by a thriving neighborhood in the early 20th century. But by the early 21st, it wasn’t even safe for swimming due to decades of pollution and disinvestment. That’s been changing over the past 10 years. Brian Gage is Executive Director of the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, which has a large affordable housing complex in the neighborhood. He says the latest grant will help AMHA engage residents over the next two years.

“We want people to think in a visionary approach of what you really want Summit Lake to be from a housing perspective, and specifically from an affordable housing perspective, so we can have a really good, well-designed process that meets the needs of all the people in the Summit Lake community,” Gage said.

He says after planning and design are complete, AMHA will pursue additional grants for any construction projects.

“The hope is that a few years from now, after the community designs what they want for new housing, the Housing Authority intends to pursue a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant. And those will actually be the grant funds that would revitalize and create new housing within the Summit Lake community,” Gage said.

He says there is no timetable for construction, but the planning process is slated to take at least two years.

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Kabir Bhatia joined WKSU as a Reporter/Producer and weekend host in 2010. A graduate of Hudson High School, he received his Bachelor's from Kent State University. While a Kent student, Bhatia served as a WKSU student assistant, working in the newsroom and for production.