Saturday, December 16, 2006

New Develpment in Downtown Akron

Buildings to the north and south of the Akron Civic Theatre will be renovated and dedicated to mix-use retail/entertainment/business and market-rate apartments according to a report in the Akron Beacon Journal. The old Whitelaw building will be saved and not torn down, which had been in the works if a more grandeous scheme had found the financing it needed. I really like the sound of this:

"The demolition will expose a section of the Ohio & Erie Canal for the first time in more than a century; it will be incorporated into the development.

Main Street Partners proposes using the lower levels of the rehabilitated buildings as walk-out areas at the canal level to serve customers at restaurants and clubs, according to the city. The upper levels will have a mix of uses, including office, retail and 33 market-rate apartments."

How cool to see something that had been hidden for 100 years! I remember as a child going in search of the old canal locks with my family. In those days (the 50s and 60s), the locks were hidden in vast overgrowths of weeds and they cotained the most toxic looking brews of green slime and foaming chemicals.

I wonder sometimes if all the canal restoration that has been going on the past couple of decades might well be prescient thinking. In the post-petroleum era, the canal boats might well be running up and down the state once more.

As I posted in the Comments section of the ABJ article, I'd love to live in one of those apartments overlooking the canal. I can picture taking a morning walk down the towpath with an apartment-sized dog, then stopping for coffee and chat with the local downtown workers. The performance art spaces all in walking distance, and the main library's riches right down the street. The only thing missing would be a year-round farmer's market.

1 comment:

microdot said...

Very cool, I just finished reading an account of the building of the canal.
I loved seeing the old pictures of the canal in use and as it existed 150 years ago.
The little canals here are in use. I was in Toulouse 2 years ago in a hotel across from the train station and I watched from my window as small boats regularly went through the locks in the center of town...the locks were still operated by hand machinery!