Greater cooperation leads to new safety enhancements and investments

12/19/2018

University of Akron Interim President John C. Green, City of Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan and County of Summit Executive Ilene Shapiro today announced a series of ongoing initiatives and safety-related enhancements for the area south of the University along the Exchange Street Corridor. In addition to already completed efforts to upgrade various University-owned properties and augment safety patrols, the cooperative work by the City, County and University will result in additional measures to improve safety and address related issues in the area.

Zips-Racing-Team-with-car

The southwest corner of Exchange and Brown streets before (top) and after the Plasma Center building was removed and replaced with green space.

These include:

  • The deployment of a mobile reporting tool, developed by the County’s Geographic Information Systems unit. Named “Cleanup/Fixup”, it will enable area residents – many of them UA students – to quickly and easily notify officials of issues needing attention, such as high weeds/overgrown lots, non-functioning street lights, trash in yards and other problems that affect quality of life.
  • Stepped-up code enforcement activity and communication with landlords to improve property maintenance.
  • Additional street lighting throughout the area.
  • Even closer cooperation and coordination among law enforcement officials, with a particular focus on the area south of Exchange Street.

County Executive Shapiro explained the importance of the cooperative work and the new mobile reporting tool. “This overall initiative has been a successful collaboration by the Summit County Planning and GIS Division, The University of Akron, the City of Akron and FirstEnergy,” Executive Shapiro said. “The suite of applications developed by our GIS staff will give The University of Akron a standalone and modern survey that students can use to report a variety of issues including lighting, housing conditions, junk automobiles, street conditions, and more. The City of Akron will then receive this information to review and take appropriate action.”

Mayor Horrigan added, “Exchange Street is a vital corridor to this City and the University of Akron. A coordinated effort to focus on safety improvements and targeted nuisance compliance will increase the vitality and development opportunities in this area. We want students, area residents and businesses alike to feel safe, welcome and drawn to the corridor.”

Ohio Edison President Rich Sweeney stated, “We are pleased to partner with the County, the City and the University to improve street lighting in this neighborhood. It is initiatives like these that create stronger, safer, more livable communities for our customers and the vital institutions they support.”

Dr. John Green, interim president of The University of Akron, discusses the many safety enhancements now in place south of Exchange Street during a news conference

Dr. John Green, interim president of The University of Akron, discusses the many safety enhancements now in place south of Exchange Street during a news con­ference. Greater cooperation between the city, county and University made the improvements possible.

UA Interim President Green said, “The University has undertaken several initiatives of its own to upgrade the area and our services, including creating more green space by razing some University-owned buildings, adjusting patrol hours by our police department to provide greater presence in late evening/early morning hours and establishing the visible UA Off-Campus Patrol office on East Exchange Street. The additional initiatives with the City and the County are most welcome, and we are confident that they will be very helpful to everyone who lives in, works in or visits the area.”

UA Undergraduate Student Government President Taylor Bennington noted the benefits for students these initiatives will have. “Student safety is our top priority,” Bennington said. “These steps will undoubtedly enhance the safety mechanisms already in place in the neighborhoods surrounding the University. A partnership like this reaffirms to students the commitment of the University, the City of Akron, and Summit County to providing a safe collegiate experience for every Zip on our campus. ”

UA Board of Trustee member and chair of the Board’s Safety and Facilities Special Committee Lewis W. Adkins, Jr. commented, “We greatly appreciate the commitment by the City, the County and Ohio Edison to work with us so closely to provide additional support to the University and our students. That partnership is very meaningful to all of us.”

Interim President Green noted that the Cleanup/Fixup mobile reporting tool is being integrated into UA’s new mobile app and available for use by students when classes resume in mid-January.