The history of the Innerbelt is fraught with the erasure and displacement of vibrant Akron communities.
It is important to recognize and discuss the events of the past as we make steps toward reconnecting communities and dreaming of what can be.
1850s-1860s - The 1850 Census revealed that Akron’s black population had grown to 73 people, but by the 1860 Census only 24 black people were living in Akron.
1870s-1920s - Akron saw a boom in the rubber industry thanks to key individuals, making Akron the “Rubber Capital of the World.” Akron soon became the largest growing city in the United States.
1950s - Akron witnessed a second Great Migration. The community’s African American resident numbers grew rapidly.
1962-1965 - The idea of the Innerbelt was created. Most projects targeted African American neighborhoods for new expressways.
1965 - The Innerbelt project is listed to cost $47.4 million with work to begin within 2 years.
1971 - Acquisition for the Innerbelt began. Entire communities were wiped off the map.
1975 - The State of Ohio agreed to begin construction on the Innerbelt. Many African American families were forced from their neighborhoods.
1983 - Work continues on connecting the Innerbelt. Residents continue to lose land to eminent domain.
1999 - Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic urges redevelopment of the Innerbelt.
2017 - Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan announces the decommission of the Innerbelt.
Now - The Innerbelt Initiative will help create a new vision for a vibrant place that reconnects communities and honors what once was here.