Model Block Program and Jewett Park Revitalization
Both projects are the first of many initiatives that UPA will undertake to bring new and concentrated vitality to each of three key neighborhoods in University Park (Jewett-Upson, Mason and Leggett). In accordance with UPA's recently released master plan, these initiatives seek to leverage the City's investment in new Community Learning Centers and city parks in University Park and the valuable community resources they represent. A combination of measures including these will help renew the image of each of these neighborhoods and will help attract new homeowners and investment while strengthening the existing residential community.
Ten homes on Upson Street are part of this large scale revitalization project. Five additional also received new landscaping. UPA is investing $190,000 in the rehabilitation of these homes.
Owners, in some cases in conjunction with their tenants, applied and were accepted and each house was evaluated in terms of what was needed to make it functional, safer and to improve the home's curb appeal. Most of the houses received new roofs. Many received new aluminum siding, new windows, new insulation and bathroom upgrades (particularly for the elderly). Many received new furnaces and new water heaters. Porches were rebuilt, foundation repaired, and gutters were replaced and repaired. New lighting has been installed and many homes received new mailboxes and new house numbers. All will get new landscaping.
Important partners in the project include Rebuilding Together as construction manager and LINKS Community & Family Services as neighborhood coordinator. More than 500 volunteer hours have been comitted to the project.
Hazel S. After
Hazel S. – (Resident for 64 years) “I feel totally overwhelmed and am so thankful and grateful! It feels like my neighborhood has come back.”
Candace W. After
Candace W. – (Resident for 15 years) “I love this – this is a dream come true! We were at the point where we were going to have to choose between a new furnace or a new roof. Now we have both. This project has made people proud to live here.”
Jeffrey A. After
Jeffrey A. – (Resident for 15 years) “What has been done to improve our neighborhood is so nice! This beatification has brought us closer together.”
Fran S. After
Fran S. – (Resident for 45 years) “I couldn’t believe it – what a blessing! Families will have more pride in the neighborhood because of this program.”
Beth B. After
Beth B. – (Family has lived in the house since it was built 100 years ago.) “I was shocked when I heard all the improvements that were going to be made to my house! This is going to encourage people living here to stay and new ones to move in.”
Jewett Park is a small pocket city park located near the Jewett-Upson Model Block area. UPA believes that urban parks are key to neighborhood stability through provision of green space, a safe place for children to play, and a common area for neighbors to gather and socialize. UPA is investing nearly $19,000 in park improvements at Jewett Park, including the installation of a new 1/8 mile walking path, partial new fencing, new game tables and picnic tables, and upgrading the existing play equipment and swings, including the installation of new soft surfacing. The City of Akron is an important partner in this project by not only giving UPA access and approval to make the improvements and assisting with planning and implementation, but also by providing the walking path sub-surface and regrading surfaces.