Release Date: July 25,2022

The City of Akron and Akron Parks Collaborative Announce 2022 Akron Parks Challenge Winners

Akron, Ohio, July 25, 2022 — Today, the City of Akron and the Akron Parks Collaborative are thrilled to announce that the winners of the 2022 Akron Parks Challenge are Boss Park (Ward 3) and Hyre/Lion’s Parks in Ellet (Ward 6). Each group will receive $100,000 in funding from the City of Akron to improve their local parks.

For the fourth year in a row, the Akron Parks Challenge invited residents to pitch their vision for how to improve their favorite park by collaborating with their neighborhood to support community growth, inclusion, care for parks, and creating a joyful atmosphere for the community.

At Boss Park, the goal of their project is to create a more inclusive neighborhood gathering space. In their application, the submitting team stated, “This year, we want to use the money to make high-impact physical improvements and put on events that will bring more people into the park.” Boss Park’s application detailed ideas for the park such as shade structures, lighting, trails, and signage.

“Together, we also have resources and connections in the community to utilize and improve the planning and execution phases of the Boss Park improvement,” the team stated. “We will work together to intentionally coordinate programming with residents, Leggett CLC, and the University of Akron at Boss Park.”

In Hyre Park/Lion’s Park of Ellet, one of the team’s goals is to improve the space with a playground and par course with a story walk. Hyre Park and Lion’s Park are connected, and the community utilizes both parks as one space. The team hopes to connect with local businesses around Ellet who will partner with students to help care for the park.

Tom Mitan, an Ellet resident of 43 years, frequently walks the Hyre woods trail and attended early planning meetings to finalize the proposal. He said, "News of winning the Parks Challenge gives me new energy, a sense of accomplishment, and motivation to get the team together and get to work! On behalf of all those who participated in developing and submitting the proposal for Hyre/Lion’s Parks, we would like to thank the Akron Parks Collaborative for selecting our park for the grant. We all believe this area of Ellet is a gem, worthy of improvement. The woods with its stream and connectivity to athletic fields can be utilized by all residents. We look forward to completing plans and seeing it flourish.”

Kary Bailey, a lifetime Ellet resident, and homeowner of 18 years has a property that ends at Hyre Park. She said she was overjoyed to win the Parks Challenge. "Already, I have met so many wonderful neighbors I would not have met without this process. It makes me feel like we can do anything!" She added, "The residents of Ellet came through for this park challenge. Without their passion for change, this couldn't have been possible. Lion’s Park is such a beautiful space and deserves some TLC. It has sat empty for decades, so I am excited to see what it will look like when it is completed. As a lifetime resident of Ellet, I couldn't be happier for us to receive this grant. Thank you to the Akron Parks Collaborative and the City of Akron for making this possible."

Submissions were reviewed by the Akron Parks Collaborative and were judged based on measures of feasibility, sustainability, equity, and impact on the neighborhood.

The City of Akron and the Akron Parks Collaborative will begin working with the two winning applicants to develop a plan for community engagement activities over the next several months—including public meetings, events, surveys, and discussions with neighborhood stakeholders.

For more information on Akron’s Park Challenge, please visit akronparks.org.