TO PRESERVE OUR VALLEY: WE NEED A FOCUSED PLAN
A Master Planning process for the southern end of the Cuyahoga Valley, known locally as the Merriman Valley, started in April 2021 and a report will be completed in early 2022. The cities of Akron and Cuyahoga Falls selected the Chicago-based firm, Farr Associates, to lead the process. According to city documents, the goal of the process is to "guide future land use and development activities" in the planning area. However, opportunities for public input have been limited to surveys and guided questions/exercises. Preserve the Valley is advocating for more citizen input and community involvement in the process before the plan is finalized.
WHAT DOES PRESERVE THE VALLEY WANT TO SEE HAPPEN?
Preserve the Valley supports:
redevelopment of existing properties in the planning area in ways that support the region's residential, environmental, small business, and recreational needs.
preservation of existing greenspaces and tree canopy in the planning area to protect the Valley from the increasing effects of climate change including increased rainfall, flooding, and landslides.
more opportunities for public participation in the master planning process
the recognition of the Merriman Valley as a National Park Gateway Community because of its proximity to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which is visited by 2.8 million people annually, generating $80MM in economic activity.
Preserve the Valley believes the Merriman Valley should be re-developed and re-imagined as the "southern gateway" to the parks and recreation found in the nearby Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Summit Metro Parks system. By offering park-style lodging and vibrant local businesses featuring the arts, culture, and food that makes this region unique, it could create an economic boost for the entire area. Scenic overlooks and trail connectivity could give visitors and residents more access to the river and the parks. Here is a spreadsheet of issues/needs that Preserve the Valley has identified as areas of focus.
While Preserve the Valley supports sustainable re-development, we don't support expanding new development into the remaining greenspaces. The increasing impacts of climate change and overdevelopment are serious issues for the Merriman Valley and its long-term sustainability, and we believe these issues must guide smart land use decisions.
HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCESS
Join Preserve the Valley's Public Conversation about the Merriman Valley as a Gateway Community,
August 11, 2021, 6:30 - 7:45 pm., Towpath Tennis Lodge (2108 Akron-Peninsula Rd.) We want to hear from you! Bring us your ideas for improving and transforming the Merriman Valley into a National Park Gateway Community. And enjoy some stunning views from the brand-new lodge at the same time.
Farr Associates Master Planning meetings on August 17 and 19, 2021 at Todaro's Party Center, 5:30 pm. Farr Associates will share their proposed ideas and scenarios for "neighborhood layouts, roads, open space plans, and architectural types" in the planning area. Public input in these sessions will guide some of the choices made for the final concepts. Make your voice heard.
Master Plan area defined by City of Akron and Cuyahoga Falls, 2021