The Akron Parks Challenge invites neighborhood residents, leaders and organizations alike to pitch their vision for their favorite park and how they can partner to achieve the change they wish to see. Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said, "This is every citizen’s opportunity to help the City co-create welcoming, accessible, and functional spaces for the community to enjoy. To apply, all you need is a great idea for how to invest in an Akron park and a plan for engaging the community to help make it a reality."

The application consists of two simple questions based on an idea and how the applicant would help engage their community ensuring inclusion. Since the program’s launch in 2018, $600,000 in city funds leveraged $367,200 in private funds in FIVE city parks. In addition, Friends groups have formed around each park and the ongoing stewardship and pride has resulted in less trash and vandalism and an increase in park use.

Program partners include the City of Akron, Akron Parks Collaborative, Akron Civic Commons and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The next Akron Parks Challenge will be announced in spring 2020.

2019 Akron Parks Challenge Recipients:

Elizabeth Park

The park is on Lods Street in Cascade Village and sits on the Little Cuyahoga River near N. Howard Street. The community team went to the rest of their neighborhood through surveys, door to door conversations and park events to determine the park improvements they want within a $100,000 budget. Final decisions are underway.

Park East

Located along the Ohio & Erie Canal south of downtown, this park is within the Akron Civic Commons. A new playground was installed in October as a KaBoom! project.

Photos courtesy of Garrick Black

Questions can be directed to
Click here to see a past recipients summary.
Find out more about all of Akron's Parks:
City of Akron's Comprehensive Park Facilities Study