City Of Akron And City Of Cuyahoga Falls Announce First Public Meeting
Akron, Ohio, July 1, 2021 — In March of 2021, the cities of Akron and Cuyahoga Falls announced a joint planning process for the Merriman Valley & Schumacher Areas. This area, often known to locals as the Valley, is in need of a new vision plan for land use and zoning that is more in keeping with today’s economic realities, and one that can guide responsible development in both previously-developed areas and yet-to-be developed ones.
Akron and Cuyahoga Falls hired Farr Associates, a nationally-recognized architecture and planning firm that specializes in planning, urban design, sustainable architecture, and environmentally-sensitive design, to assist in developing the Master Plan for the Valley. The planning process is expected to conclude in early 2022.
As part of the planning process, the cities will provide community members with ample opportunities to provide feedback, through both in-person and online engagement activities. The first opportunity is coming in the form of a virtual public meeting on Thursday, July 15 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.
In the first part of the meeting, Farr Associates will introduce the project, planning team, and initial project goals. They will detail significant findings from the planning team’s site visit and preliminary investigations. They will also gather feedback from attendees on their perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of the study area, along with their aspirations for its future.
In the second part of the discussion, Farr Associates will engage the public in an exercise called Asset Based Community Development. They will lead attendees through a series of questions about an array of urban design elements, including building and housing types, streetscape, greenspace, and wayfinding. Feedback from this exercise will help determine the key elements that Farr Associates will use as a basis for creating two master plan scenarios for the study area.
The public is encouraged to attend to learn more about the planning process and provide feedback. Interested participants can sign up here where they will receive the Zoom link for the meeting.
“The City of Cuyahoga Falls is proud to partner with the City of Akron in this joint venture as we look for ways to move the Valley forward through sustainable and thoughtful development activities,” stated Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters. “I encourage all of our residents to participate in the public input activities so that their voices may be heard throughout the development process.”
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said, "The Valley is blessed with significant natural amenities, being at the doorstep of our National Park. It also has significant potential as a well-planned retail, residential and entertainment hub. The goal of this public engagement process is to work directly with the people who live in and visit this area to co-create long-term, sustainable plans that ensure we never compromise what makes the Valley unique, beautiful and enjoyable. Please join us as we imagine our future, together.”
In addition to the July 15 public meeting, a three-day in-person Public Planning Charrette will take place August 17 - 19, 2021. More details will be released closer to those dates.
For any questions/comments regarding the Merriman Valley & Schumacher Area Master Plan: