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Akron, Cuyahoga Falls release draft plan for Merriman Valley-Schumacher Area

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Posted at 2:05 PM, Jan 13, 2022

AKRON, Ohio — The cities of Akron and Cuyahoga Falls have unveiled the draft plans for the Merriman Valley-Schumacher Area, an area that lies on the northwestern edge of Akron and Cuyahoga Falls and south of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

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The plan, prepared by urban planning firm Farr Associates, gathered feedback from stakeholders about their desires and priorities of what the area could become.

The cities are open to more input from the public, which can be given here.

“As our communities look toward the future of the Valley, we now have a plan which provides a thoughtful, strategic vision for future development," said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “This vision was crafted with input from all stakeholders and accounts for the many unique opportunities for residential and retail development in an area that is truly blessed with many natural assets."

The plan lays out a vision of a vibrant, walkable area that coexists with the natural beauty of the area.

“I am incredibly pleased with the community engagement and participation that was displayed throughout the creation of the master plan,” said Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters. “The plan maps a path forward for the Valley that balances economic and community development opportunities with the preservation of much of the natural resources that define and distinguish the area.”

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Merriman MP - Portage Tr Northampton Node B aerial look northwest.

Merriman Valley is noted in the report as a place that has been both at the forefront of significant public effort to preserve and restore nature while also where significant planning and development challenges exist.

The plan addresses several environmental concerns. It proposes setting aside two types of open space corridors to protect the natural assets of that area. The first is the Natural Habitat Corridors that encompass the river, streams and dry fields to create connected regional wildlife habitat.

The second type of corridor is the Scenic Byways that preserve the bucolic vista along the major thoroughfares. The plan also lays out plans for Conversation Neighborhoods, which would preserve critical open space for walking and biking and offer a range of housing types and price points.

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Merriman Portage Path Node A aerial look northwest.

In addition to environmental considerations, the plan looks to envision a 10-plus year redevelopment of the commercial area that surrounds Merriman Road and North Portage Path. It would focus more on creating a pedestrian-friendly environment.

Other projects mentioned in the plan include a new Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway Station and the creation of Riverbend Park on Portage Path, which would open up access to the river’s edge.

Click HERE to view the full master plan.

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