This is Akron: Tell Us Your Vision of the Future

by | Mar 9, 2019

By Doug Livingston, Akron Beacon Journal

 

Bucking the trend to move away, Michael Jewell got married and found his forever home in 1975 in the midst of a seismic shift in Akron.

 

Already 40,000 factory jobs had gone, signaling the full bust of an industrial boom that had built Akron and other legacy cities now competing to reinvent themselves. Akron — a city with neighborhoods named after the paternal companies that employed them — would shed 50,000 residents in the next 40 years as Jewell moved from South Akron to Firestone Park — “very congenial, I would say, upper middle-class neighborhood.”

 

As the years ticked by, his aging neighbors in their aging homes retired, passed on or left the city, steadily replaced by younger, more diverse and less affluent families in a city with fewer of the jobs that lifted up the previous generation.

 

“It’s more integrated and not quite as well-to-do as before, but still a very nice place to live,” said Jewell, 77, who retired 18 years ago from the production side of the Beacon Journal as the internet upended newspapers. After volunteering for years, his local YMCA offered him a part-time job.

 

“I’ve got no regret at all living in Firestone Park,” said Jewell, who spoke of a fundamental “misconception” of life in Akron. “I’ll probably stay here for the rest of my life.”

 

Continue to the full story here.