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 café 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.