Community Member Highlight – Diane Keckler
North Hill is a community of many cultures and a diverse group of voices. We are honored to hear from Diane Keckler, one of our community members, who shares about some of her hopes for North Hill and how our work has impacted her life.
“I love being involved in the North Hill community. One of my favorite moments so far has been watching the entertainment at People’s Park. If I could recommend any part of North Hill to someone, it would definitely be the restaurants.
Right now, I currently help in People’s Park by maintaining the beautiful flowers and plants. I also spend time as much as I can informing my neighbors of upcoming events.
When I think about the future of the North Hill community, I dream of there being a coffee shop, a bakery and better ways to cross the street. This community is already great the way it is, but I know this expansion would only create more opportunities for people in our neighborhood.
I look forward to what’s to come for our community!”
Thank you Diane for sharing your North Hill experience with us! We are thankful for the voices and collaboration of our neighbors as we work to achieve a thriving North Hill community.
North Hill’s 2023 Vision and Goals
As we move forward in 2023, I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for the North Hill Community. After hitting important milestones that we set in 2022, I see just how much this community is capable of through people uniting together under one mission to bring about great change in our city.
Our vision for 2023 is centered around three key goals to:
- Build the Friends of Waters Park & Partnership,
- Increase feedback from our North Hill neighbors and
- Build and develop thriving commercial corridors on Main and Howard streets.
These goals reflect our mission to foster economic development and create a flourishing intercultural community that amplifies all voices. As you read through each initiative for this year, I hope you are reminded of how important your partnership and support is to this growing community.
Goal 1: Build the Friends of Waters Park & Partnership with Akron Parks Collaborative.
We hope to see more community engagement at the park and improve the park’s overall infrastructure. This will provide better space for activities that represent the diversity of the neighborhood. We also hope to host at least one concert in the amphitheater.
Goal 2: Increase feedback from our North Hill neighbors.
Stay tuned for a survey centered around arts & culture, economic development and safety, and more.
Goal 3: Build and develop thriving commercial corridors on Main and Howard streets.
We plan to participate in small-scale development of neglected properties in our commercial corridor, specifically on Main and Howard Streets. We will address neglected properties, understand pathways for small scale development and listen to what residents want access to in their neighborhood.
Howard Street’s Revitalization Update
In recent years, North Hill has received significant attention for its welcoming of new Americans building upon the rich history of being a neighborhood of immigrants. But, what is often overlooked in the conversation is its position as an important site for Akron’s present day Black residents. Howard St. has long been a thoroughfare of economic development in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood, dating back to its thriving jazz and blues history. Many of Akron’s Black residents landed in the neighborhood, building community and creating a sense of place, of home. However, the construction of the Innerbelt and historic disinvestment continues to have devastating effects that ripple North throughout the neighborhood. Black businesses closed their doors or were destroyed. Homeowners were forced to leave and those left behind saw their homes further depreciate.
Howard Street Heritage Courtyard is an opportunity to highlight the Black and Indigenous history tied to the location, while creating space for dynamic community conversations amongst the neighborhood’s myriad of beautiful cultures. Art has long been used to highlight injustice, but also inspire hope in a community. We see the Howard Street Heritage Courtyard doing just that.
Intentionality has been embedded in the design of the space from the onset. The main sculpture feature was designed by Jason Flakes of Visual 14, an Akron-born artist who currently resides in Columbus. Flakes’ “modern day totem” marries the conversation of our indigenous residents with the history of redlining. A rotating mural wall wraps around the site to uplift the talent of local artists. And, knowing that the neighborhood is home for many families of different cultural backgrounds, we’ve partnered with the Akron Children’s Museum to create a space for play. Finally, inspired by residents’ current use of the site for fundraisers and community gatherings, the courtyard will have plenty of space to sit, set up booths, and will be equipped with electrical outlets.
This is a chance to use public space to restitch the social fabric of such a diverse, vibrant neighborhood.
To see the effects of urban renewal on Howard Street, we encourage you to watch Mark Greer’s documentary, Beyond the Innerbelt.
If you have stories about historic Howard Street, are interested in joining our community advisory committee, to select Artists for Akron’s first interchangeable mural wall, or even how you would like to see the development of it, we would love to hear it! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Without your support, this project would not be possible. Thank you for helping us to do this impactful work.
We Have the Right Rental Space for You!
Whether you’re looking for an office space or a place to host your next party, we have the right rental space for you! Learn how the Maker and Exchange Houses and People’s Park can meet your needs below.
Maker and Exchange House – The Perfect Space to Work
Looking for office space to rent? Join our network of entrepreneurs in residence at the Maker and Exchange Houses; located in the heart of Temple Square in North Hill. These vibrant spaces are community hubs, which offer a wide range of services and resources. With features from free wifi to being walking distance from some of the best food in the city, our Maker and Exchange Houses have everything you need to focus on the needs of your business.
Check out the information about each space below:
The Maker House
The Maker House is a women’s empowerment center focused on providing accessible support services for women to holistically address social determinants of health in North Hill. We partner with organizations who utilize our space to provide programming to women in our community, including mental health services, entrepreneur support, technical assistance, art therapy and support groups.
The Maker House also offers private second-floor offices (up to 200 sq ft) or studio space with access to a full kitchen and meeting space on the first floor, with 24-hour access, mailboxes and access to an outdoor event space, People’s Park (create a hyperlink to PP page here).
With a convenient location within walking distance of the NoHi Food Truck Park, restaurants and grocery stores in the heart of Temple Square, The Maker House is the perfect space for individuals and businesses to rent as a private office or meeting space or hold a community event.
The Exchange House
The Exchange House offers a private second-floor office (average 1500 sq ft) or studio space, a full kitchen, meeting space on the first floor, with 24-hour access and access to an outdoor event space, People’s Park. This community hub offers a wide range of services and resources to support growing entrepreneurs, such as providing a physical mailing address to new businesses.
With a convenient location within walking distance of the NoHi Food Truck Park, restaurants and grocery stores in the heart of Temple Square, The Exchange House is the perfect space for individuals and businesses to rent as a private office or meeting space or hold a special event.
Some key features of the office spaces include:
- 24-hour access
- Free wifi
- Community kitchen and access to coworking space
- Access to outdoor event space
- Right by restaurants, grocery stores, and our up-and-coming Food Truck Park!
People’s Park – Your Next Event Location
Planning that graduation party, birthday party, or other gatherings? People’s Park is the perfect space to rent!
People’s Park includes:
- Covered stage and pavilion
- Convertible benches
- Fire pits
- Charcoal Grill
- And More!