On 05 March by Goodyear Heights in , , , ,    No comments
While we have been happy that the vast majority of Goodyear Heights residents have responded positively to the effort to have the neighborhood designated as a National Register Historic District, we still come across folks who did not attend one of last year’s series of RIGHT Committee meetings where we explained the project and what it could mean for the neighborhood. For those who missed the meetings, or who do not understand our goals, we would suggest reading this post: “SUPPORT OUR EFFORT” – which provides the basic facts about what designation means—and DOES NOT mean.

We want to clear up any misconceptions that people may have, especially for those who are worried that designation forces you to make improvements to your property. Nothing could be further from the truth; in fact, we chose the approach of National Register designation specifically because it would not add any extra financial burden on homeowners.

That said, we will be providing a wide range of education and informational resources to residents who do want to preserve and restore the historic character of their home and that of the neighborhood. We’ll be offering workshops, booklets, advice and many other resources to encourage our residents to preserve and enhance their home’s value. At some point in the future, we’d also like to work with public and non-profit foundations to offer some additional assistance—like grants and loans for repair and restoration. For additional facts about our effort, you can download a Q&A HERE.
On 21 January by Goodyear Heights in , , , ,    No comments
The more walkable your neighborhood, the more valuable your home, studies say. To boost your neighborhood’s walkability — which translates into how easily you can walk to stores, schools, restaurants, places of employment and parks — you can either get more close-by amenities, or make it easier to walk to what already exists.

For those who have lived in Goodyear Heights for many years, it’s clear that a lot of the neighborhood conveniences do not exist like they used to—grocery stores being a prime example. But making the most of what we have and encouraging future development on a small, neighborhood scale can go a long way towards enhancing walkability.

How much is that walkability worth?
Having shops and gathering spots like schools and restaurants located within a quarter-mile to one-mile from the homes in your neighborhood can add from $4,000 to $34,000 to home values, according to “Walking the Walk,” a study from CEOs for Cities, a nonprofit that works to improve cities. The rate of increase usually depended on the size of the city, with higher values in larger cities, and more moderate values in smaller cities.

What are walkable communities?
Dan Burden, founder of Walkable Communities, defines them with his a 12-step checklist, which includes:

•    Great public places for people to to get together and socialize
•    Speed-controlled key streets
•    Pedestrian-centric design
•    A town or neighborhood center with a wide variety of shops and businesses

How do I make my neighborhood more walkable?
To have great walkability, you start with having something worth walking to, such as restaurants, small shops or parks, and a critical mass of people living around those amenities. To make a difference, get your neighbors together and go talk to local officials. Your group can push the planning and zoning board for changes that make your town more walkable, like adjusting zoning to allow limited commercial development where it can do the most good.

Contact groups like the Better Block Foundation, who has organized planning and demonstration projects in North Hill, Middlebury and Kenmore. They are great when it comes to showing residents how they can improve neighborhood commercial areas and make them more pedestrian-friendly. On Twitter, you can connect at @akronbb.

Residents will want to mingle somewhere, too. See how you can support and expand public spaces where you can mix and socialize (think library, park, coffee shop) to increase your neighborhood’s walkability. Goodyear Heights has these amenities available—we just have to make the most of them.

To heighten and improve walkability, it’s critical to make the streets kinder to walkers and keep cars under control. Put these items on your city planning list:

•More and wider sidewalks; bike lanes where practical.
•Lower speed limits; traffic-calming strategies at intersections.

If you’re serious about increasing walkability, gather neighbors and town officials for a walking audit, where the group walks along a particular route and stops periodically to discuss how to improve the walking experience with landscaping, safety improvements, or accessibility improvements. Other things you can do:

•Trim shrubbery that may be blocking the sidewalk in front of your house.
•Pick up trash and litter as you walk along. If you see an eyesore, note it and call the Akron 311 line
•Replace your porch and outdoor lights with LED bulbs and light things up at night. They cost little to use, and it will boost your security and that of the neighborhood.
•Be polite to other drivers and pedestrians when you drive.

And maybe the best walkability tip of all? Just get out and walk.

On 07 November by Goodyear Heights in , , ,    No comments
An original (1914) and well-preserved Goodyear Heights home, this English Cottage-style house features 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths. For the most part, the exterior appears little changed from the original (including the windows) and portions of the first floor have been opened-up slightly to allow for a more flowing plan. Original features like a brick fireplace and handsome staircase help this 1,516 sq. ft. house retain much of its early 20th-century charm.

The home features a spacious and shady backyard and a partially finished basement as well, and is right on the bus line. Also includes a detached, single-car garage.

Notes: 1402 Goodyear Blvd. Akron, OH 44305 / 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths; ready to move in.  The home has Central air, gas forced air heat and includes  Dishwasher, Dryer, Range / Oven & Refrigerator. For more details, click HERE.

On 03 November by Goodyear Heights in , , , ,    No comments

East Side Pride was on full display Thursday, November 2, as the East High Dragons defeated the Buchtel Griffins for the 2017 City Series Postseason football title. The win came just two weeks after Buchtel had prevailed in a 15-13 contest—but the Dragons turned the tables and won a memorable championship game, 21-20.

The win game the Dragons their second consecutive title, and was primarily driven by an outstanding defensive effort, which resulted in two scores from that side of the ball. Much of the critical action took place within the last two minutes of the game, as a defensive score by East was matched by a Buchtel touchdown drive. Unfortunately for the Griffins, what would have been the game-tying extra point attempt was missed, thus delivering the victory to the Dragons. What a game!

On 31 October by Goodyear Heights in , , ,    No comments
Looking through the initial results of our survey, it was interesting—though not so surprising—that Goodyear Heights residents would like to see the kind of amenities that are often found in many lively, active neighborhoods. These include things like grocery stores, coffee shops and cafes, farmer’s markets, and other retail outlets. In short, the comments seemed to indicate that people were looking for places to gather and socialize. That’s typical for a healthy neighborhood. Most people prefer to know who their neighbors are, enjoy at least some level of social interaction, and have a feeling of belonging to a “community.” Gathering places like restaurants, coffee shops, taverns, parks and public squares, and retail stores play an important role in bringing people together and shaping that sense of community and identity.

These kinds of businesses are also important in enhancing Goodyear Heights’ attractiveness as a walkable community. The neighborhood was built before the era where everyone had a car—and it was designed to have the most-needed services within easy walking distance. For example, around 1920, the commercial area around Goodyear Boulevard and Pioneer St. included a grocery, butcher shop, sundry store (think of a drug store without the pharmacy), a real estate office, barber shop, and more. Later, as America became infatuated with the automobile, these kinds of retail services became more centralized (think of the old Acme at Six Corners) and as time went on, moved even further out from the central parts of the city—which is why the closest Acme is now in Tallmadge.

Today, more people would like the convenience of a neighborhood grocery; not a huge mega-store, but something more modest that offers a decent selection of basic foods at a reasonable price. For the older members of the audience, think of an old Lawson’s store on steroids. Combined with a weekly Farmer’s Market in a central location for produce and other specialty items, this would be helpful for the neighborhood. If you’ve ever been to the Mustard Seed Market in Highland Square, you can see how a grocery operation of modest size has become a popular neighborhood gathering place. The store itself is not that big at all, but the public gathering spaces and cafĂ© on the second floor has almost become the “neighborhood living room.”

There are a few places to eat and drink in the neighborhood, and a few (like Julian’s) attract some customers from other parts of the city. It would be nice to see more of this, and also have some of these businesses try to build a stronger bond with the surrounding neighborhood areas. It’s also critical that neighborhood residents patronize their local businesses, to ensure they remain healthy and viable. Everyone has a role to play.

On 08 October by Goodyear Heights in , , , , , ,    No comments

Responses continue to come in for our Goodyear Heights Resident Survey, and as the weeks go on we’ll be sharing some of the results and highlighting some of the specific questions we asked and the responses we are getting.

As a teaser, we might pass on just a few observations that we gathered on our first look at the results. One thing that stuck out was that a majority of the respondents (55%) have lived in Goodyear Heights for at least 10 years of more—in fact, in our initial 100 responses, 30% of those surveyed had lived in Goodyear Heights for 20 years or more!

A cartoon that appeared in The Wingfoot Clan during Goodyear Heights' early years.
That points to something we suspected—that a number of families have lived in The Heights for multiple generations. It also points out that there is a high degree of satisfaction for many residents, and that they have both a financial and emotional investment in the neighborhood.

Among the first 100 respondents, almost 80% were homeowners. Most lived in what we would consider the “older” part of the neighborhood. Of the issues they would like to see the city address, crime was by far the primary issue—something that is typical in most of Akron’s neighborhoods.

We’ll also note there was a very high degree of interest in a true grocery store, places to eat and hang out, improved parks and a community garden, and maybe even a regulated dog park. Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at some of those things our residents are suggesting, and consider how we can adapt those ideas into an overall plan to improve Goodyear Heights. Stay Tuned!

On 07 October by Goodyear Heights in , , , ,    No comments
Here in Ohio, everyone knows the “snowbird” phenomenon – seniors who move to sunny southern climes in their later years. But a recent AARP survey shows that a vast majority of older Americans—more than 70 percent of those over 50, according to the survey—plan to “age in place,” or stay in their homes or communities. 

A recent article on the CityLab website details the survey and noted that the desire to stay put persists across urban, suburban, and rural residents—even in Snow Belt cities and among those who have the financial resources to buy that condo in Boca Raton or Scottsdale.

The survey showed that 7 out of 10 urbanites still want to live in their city after the age of 80. For Baby Boomers, the share was higher, at 8 out of 10.

Among some of the things that seniors look for is good access to health care and an environment where they have an opportunity to remain active and keep in touch with friends.

These are important things to keep in mind as we consider the future of Goodyear Heights. For one thing, we know that many of our residents have lived in the neighborhood for many years—even over multiple generations. Some older residents enjoy the modest upkeep requirements of their home, the familiarity of the area, and the quiet, relaxed nature of The Heights.

We want to ensure that The Heights remains a great neighborhood for all residents, young and old—with amenities that everyone can enjoy. Preserving its character and building a clean, safe and walkable neighborhood will go a long way towards meeting that goal.

On 14 September by Goodyear Heights in , , ,    No comments
It only takes a couple of minutes, but you can help us chart a course for the future of Goodyear Heights by telling us what you think. Our online survey can be accessed by clicking on the button below.
We want you to tell us: What are our neighborhood's challenges? What things make it great? What would you like to see, in terms of services, retail, amenities, programs or activities?Plans and ideas don't add up to much without the input of our neighborhood residents. Don't be shy...nothing great will happen unless you provide your input and let us know what you think!


On 12 September by Goodyear Heights in , , , ,    No comments
This lovely cottage-style home combines both English and Craftsman-style elements. Constructed in 1918, it sits in a quiet area of Goodyear Heights not far from the metropolitan park. At just over 1300 sq. feet, it still features the original bold columns across the front porch, solid brick over clay-tile construction and exudes a lot of quaint character. From the hardwood floors and brick-fronted fireplace to the original woodwork and stairs, it’s loaded with charm and has been appropriately updated. It’s hard to believe it’s almost a century old! The backyard is also quiet and well landscaped; great for relaxing or entertaining, with a large deck and slate walking paths.

Notes: 1811 Tonawanda Ave. Akron, OH 44305 / 3 bedrooms and 1 bath; ready to move in and enjoy. Central air, forced air heat and detached, 2-car garage. Wood-burning fireplace.
For more details, click HERE.
On 21 August by Goodyear Heights in , , , ,    No comments
The process has started. With the submission of our preliminary paperwork to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the effort to create a National Register Historic District in Goodyear Heights is now fully underway.

The process begins with a preliminary questionnaire, which gives a general overview of the nominated area and requires the submitter to provide detailed information about the proposed district. This information generally covers four different criteria, which describe an area’s significance in terms of:

a) Historic significance in terms of key national or local historic events
b) Association with important people of national or local importance
c) Definitive characteristics, representing the work of a master, or distinctive features that make it representative of a type, period or method of design/construction
d) Association or potential for archaeological discovery

While many historic districts have been deemed eligible for the National Register of Historic Places using just one of these criteria, Goodyear Heights can claim to have significance using three of these criteria; a, b, and c. That provides a distinct advantage in pursuing our application.

Our preliminary paperwork also included a number of photographs, including houses, streetscapes, parks and other images which will provide our SHPO evaluation team with an image of the neighborhood’s current condition. Also important were maps of the proposed district and historic maps of the original phases of the allotment.

It’s a long evaluation process; once the materials are reviewed, a site visit to Goodyear Heights will be made by the SHPO to further research the neighborhood and, providing the submission is approved, they will provide recommendations and guidance for preparing the final application for the National Register of Historic Places. This will be submitted to the National Parks Service.

So – our work has just begun! If you have questions, or would like to offer help if it is needed, we would certainly like to hear from you. In the meantime, be sure to sign our online petition, which will help us as we pursue obtaining assistance from the city of Akron on this project.