SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio — Two cities in Summit County are coming together to create a master plan to develop a popular park area‚ but are asking the public for their input first.
Officials in Akron and Cuyahoga Falls are creating a plan for the Merriman Valley and Schumacher areas in an effort to better connect it to the nearby Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
With the Merriman Valley and Schumacher areas split between Akron and Cuyahoga Falls, officials in both cities are collaborating to create the master plan.
"There's very irregular boundaries between the cities. So it had to be really both of us or none of us," said Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters. "I've lived here my whole life. I don't know that there's ever been anything like this with Akron."
As part of the collaboration, Akron and Cuyahoga Falls officials will look to create sustainable and environmentally safe ways to design the area into a well-planned retail, residential and entertainment hub while also working to connect the area to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park via walking and bike paths, among other methods.
"I think the bicycle shops, things like that, the kayaking is very popular. Innertube is very popular in our city. So this area is well, and we think that there would be a great opportunity for a lot of the outdoor sports," Walters said. Just a lot of those natural assets down there are very popular. So people want to live, work and play near those amenities."
The cities said that urban design, transportation, economic, zoning, environmental, and recreational components will be key in the master plan.
Akron and Cuyahoga Falls officials have hired Farr Associates, an architectural and planning firm, to complete the project and are splitting the costs equally, paying for the project with federal and general funds already set aside.
But none of the planning will be finalized before both cities hear from the public and get their input.
On Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m., a virtual public workshop will be held for residents of the two cities to voice their opinions on the planning. To register for the workshop, click here.
The cities are also accepting online surveys from the public to obtain feedback and ideas about the planning. To access the survey, click here.
Both cities have additional meetings planned in August.
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