Originally published by Akron Beacon Journal - Emily Mills, March 1, 2023
The city of Akron is receiving a $960,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to create a community-based master plan on future uses for the decommissioned mile-long portion of the Akron Innerbelt.
The grant is part of the new federal Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, which is meant to reconnect communities that are cut off from opportunity and burdened by past transportation infrastructure decisions.
Construction on the Innerbelt (state Route 59) began in 1970, displacing residents and businesses and especially affecting Black residents. A portion of the Innerbelt between Market and Exchange streets was permanently closed in 2017.
According to the city, the Innerbelt, sometimes referred to as Akron’s “Road to Nowhere,” was never fully completed, never saw the traffic counts predicted for it, and, like many urban renewal projects from the 1970s, its promises of revitalization never materialized for Akron and its residents...