Abandoned for years and covered in overgrowth, Rolling Acres Mall in Akron will soon be demolished. The possibilities of what it could become seem endless.
This week, city council members approved and allocated $450,000 for demolition, slated to begin within the next 12 weeks.
Councilman Jeff Fusco said he believes the 277-thousand sq. ft. building will be razed by the end of the year. It has been closed since 2008 -- home to break-ins and trespassers.
“We’re going to tear it down,” Fusco said. “The existing structure is unsafe. We’re going to do all we can to repurpose this land and put it to good use.”
Tire tracks all over the asphalt show that dozens of dirtbikers have already put it to good use.
We caught 13-year-old Shah and 10-year-old Deion riding their dirtbikes all over the abandoned parking lot, their uncle Corwin Moss keeping a close watch.
“Somewhere for them to go so they don’t have to be out in the streets,” Moss said, adding that he spent his time as a kid inside the mall, sad to see what it has become. “I hate it. It sucks, my childhood place.”
“I’d like for somebody to rehab it, make it a recreation center. Someplace we could really use, some place for the kids to go,” Moss said.
The city, however, wants it more developed and profitable — from residential to light industrial to a possible distribution center.
Fusco said once the structure is demolished, he hopes developers will see the value of the land.
“It’s 54 acres right by the central interchange,” Fusco said. “We’re looking forward to seeing some development come here.”
The anchor stores attached to the mall, including Sears and JCPenney, are still privately held and will not be demolished.