Mayor Horrigan Announces Planning Underway For Akron’s Bicentennial Celebration In 2025
Akron, Ohio, January 26, 2022 — Today, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan announced that planning is underway to commemorate the City’s 200th birthday. A new mayoral advisory board entitled, “The Akron Bicentennial Commission” has already been established to oversee the planning and programming surrounding Akron’s Bicentennial celebration. The citizen-led initiative will eventually have representatives from neighborhoods, special interest groups and every ward in the city.
On December 6, 1825 General Simon Perkins filed the plat of Akron at the courthouse in Ravenna. Akron’s 200th year begins December 6, 2024, and in line with prior commemorations of city anniversaries (1925, 1975, 2000), the Akron Bicentennial Celebration is scheduled to take place in July, 2025. Special events would also mark Dec. 6, 2025, Akron's actual 200th anniversary.
“The goal is to showcase 200 years of community contributions, achievements, and milestones,” said Mayor Horrigan. “We aim to encourage the widest possible involvement of the people of Greater Akron in the Bicentennial celebration, so that all citizens feel a sense of participation and pride in the commemoration of Akron's rich history and bright future.”
Four long-time Akron residents, all distinguished members of the community, have been appointed by Mayor Horrigan to be Honorary Chairs of the Akron Bicentennial Commission. They are:
Marco Sommerville, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Intergovernmental Affairs
Hon. Elinore Stormer, Judge of the Probate Court of Summit County
Dr. Cynthia Capers, Emeritus Dean and Professor of the University of Akron, College of Nursing
Ernest Pouttu, President and CEO, Harwick Standard Distribution
“These men and women exemplify the best qualities of Akron,” said Mayor Horrigan. “Together, they are emblematic of the diversity and strength that typifies the City’s long history and because of that, they are the perfect representatives to chair this Commission.”
Mayor Horrigan also announced that he has selected civic activist and former Deputy Mayor of Akron, Dave Lieberth to serve as the volunteer Executive Secretary of the Bicentennial Commission, who will provide the initial staffing for the planning group.
The Commission - with input from neighborhood groups, community organizations, non-profits, and individuals - will plan a series of events that speak to four Bicentennial themes:
It is expected that there will be large, city-sponsored events in keeping with how Akron celebrated its Centennial in 1925 and the Sesquicentennial in 1975.
The Commission will establish a process to request applications from community organizations (schools, churches, neighborhood groups, associations) to create programming that will be open and accessible to the public and to ensure that the year-long commemoration is inclusive and reflective of Akron. Workgroups will be established that will create opportunities for hundreds of citizens to participate in Bicentennial activities.
By the Summer of 2022, the Mayor expects to appoint the 24 members of the larger Akron Bicentennial Commission, and to announce the Workgroups that will do the actual planning.
There are two activities for which planning is already underway:
The Akron History Center at the Bowery will create a long-lasting, free, museum-quality exhibit about the 200-year history of Akron and will be the leading edge of the city’s 2025 Bicentennial celebration. A preliminary study is underway to determine the feasibility of an exhibit that will be operated by a coalition of community groups at 156 South Main Street.
A new anthology of Akron history written and researched by a dozen authors/writers of Akron history, to be overseen and published by the University of Akron Press and released before 2024.
Updates on the progress of the Akron Bicentennial Commission will be posted at akronohio.gov/Bicentennial.