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  • Preserve the Valley

Beauty as a Basic Right

November 16, 2022

Preserve the Valley is grateful to all who have raised their voices over the past two years to protect the important and beautiful greenspaces in our region. We know it has taken time and effort to write letters, send texts, attend council meetings, and sign petitions.

Your actions show how much these greenspaces matter to all citizens across Akron. All of us are concerned about the health, economic, and environmental effects we will face in a world of rapid climate change.

In the Merriman Valley and Northampton, Preserve the Valley will be hosting an informational meeting on the new zoning that is being considered for these areas by the cities of Cuyahoga Falls and Akron. Details below:

Form Based Zoning Informational Meeting

Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 6:30 pm. Towpath Tennis Lodge, 2108 Akron Peninsula Rd. Akron, OH 44313

The public is invited to ask questions after a presentation from Cuyahoga Falls Community Development Director Diana Colavecchio and City of Akron City Planner and Architect, Daniel DeAngelo. The informational meeting will cover: What is form based code and how does it differ from other zoning codes? How will it affect businesses, residents, and future development in the Valley? How does it factor into the Gateway Community resolution approved by Cuyahoga Falls, Akron and Peninsula?

Other News

Although no decision about Theiss Woods has been made by Akron officials, Preserve the Valley continues to speak out against the development of Theiss Woods in the Merriman Valley because it would represent the loss of the largest publicly-owned greenspace left in the City of Akron. Find out more about Theiss Woods on our website.

However, as we look across the city, we see other signs of concern. The former White Pond Business Park is a close second to Theiss Woods in terms of size. Together, these two public properties constitute about 130 acres (75 football fields) of Akron-owned trees and wetlands that currently protect the surrounding wards and parks.

During the Public Comment period at the Akron City Council meeting on Monday evening, November 14, many Akronites spoke out passionately against the developments planned for the former White Pond Business Park and the need to include more citizen voices. Video livestream of the meeting is available on the Akron City Council website.

With so much public sentiment running against the project in NW Akron, and the overwhelming citizen response to our efforts to save Merriman Valley greenspaces, we think it is clear how much residents throughout Akron value the preservation of their remaining public lands.

We strongly urge the City of Akron to pause the sale of White Pond Business Park and any remaining tracts of publicly-owned greenspace in order to gather more information on the environmental impacts of their decisions. We also urge the city to make its development processes more transparent and inclusive, so citizens can have a role in planning what becomes of their own neighborhoods in the future.

The beautiful photo at the top of this newsletter shows White Pond. It was taken by Akronite Miranda Florent. We hope and believe that by working more closely with its citizens, Akron can achieve its stated values of “equity,” “transparency,” and “beauty as a basic right.”

If you’d like to join the Save White Pond initiative, you can follow @savewhitepond on Instagram or sign the open letter here.

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