Once known as the rubber capital of the world, Akron is reinventing itself with educational and healthcare anchors. University Park Alliance (UPA) was created in 2000 by Akron’s largest employers and foundations to address the problems of urban poverty, low home-ownership rates and crime. University Park has a large student population at the University of Akron and more than 28,000 people are employed by anchor institutions in the area.
To capitalize on the anchors’ strength and location of the neighborhood, UPA has developed a core city strategy to redevelop University Park, the central Akron city neighborhood. One of the main tenets of this strategic plan is to encourage mixed-use development in the area and comprehensive neighborhood stabilization. “We have to prove the market so others can follow,” says UPA President Eric Johnson.