Akron, city spotlight

Akron2Akron: Firestone Park Walking Tour

Akron residents stand in front of the Harvey Firestone statue at Bridgestone.

After returning from our Akron2Detriot trip, many of us became interested in arranging informal monthly walking tours of Akron neighborhoods. We saw these tours as an opportunity to learn more about other neighborhoods, meet new people, and engage in meaningful dialogue about the many ways we can continue to enhance our community. I’ll be the first to admit that I know very little about many Akron neighborhoods and I’ve lived here for over 15 years. The great thing about the Akron2Akron walking tours is that they are led by local residents who are passionate about their neighborhood. Rick Stockburger is one of those people. As a long time resident of Firestone Park, it was only fitting that he’d lead our group on a tour of this neighborhood.

Akron residents touring the Firestone Park neighborhood

 

37 people gathered at the Firestone Park Community Center on Saturday to begin the tour. First and foremost, the fact that nearly 40 people showed up to take a tour of an Akron neighborhood in December is remarkable.  I’m totally guilty of hibernating during the Akron winter months and this was that push I needed to take off the cozy robe, grab the poncho, and get out there to explore our city.
Rick Stockburger, Akron resident and VP of collaboration at  Escalys welcomes the group

 

Dogs love Akron2Akron walking tours too!

Visiting the Harvey Firestone statue

The tour is noteworthy

It was interesting to learn about the history of Firestone Park and Harvey Firestone’s vision to develop this area into a residential neighborhood for Firestone employees. I never knew that the neighborhood was built in the shape of the Firestone corporate shield or have ever seen the statue of Harvey Firestone. Many of the original homes that were built are still standing and occupied on Crescent Avenue and Firestone Boulevard. Firestone Elementary School, located across from the Community Center, is one of the oldest school buildings in the city at 97 years old.

Rick shares the history of Aster Ave with the Akron2Akron walking tour

The group visited the Harvey Firestone statue at Bridgestone, stopped by the library,  and ended the tour at the Aster Avenue business district. Here, we saw vacant storefronts like this one on the corner of Aster and Reed avenues; an ideal location for a coffee shop or restaurant.

Tina Ughrin peeks inside a vacant building on the corner of Aster and Reed avenues.

 

m&m collectables at Boardwalk Thrift
Thankfully there’s more to Aster Avenue than vacant storefronts, namely two awesome thrift stores. This was the highlight of the tour for me, no surprise there.  We visited Lost and Found and Boardwalk Thrift; two thrift stores I had never heard of before this tour. You already know I’m going back there, no question.
Knick knacks at Boardwalk Thrift

 

Hanging out after the tour at Park Place Pub

The tour ended at Park Place Pub on Aster Ave. This establishment has been in the neighborhood since 1982. This is always my favorite part about the Akron2Akron tours  because it’s the perfect way to connect with friends and meet new faces.

The original idea of the walks themselves was simple; it’s this notion of putting an idea into motion with the purpose of bringing people together, really understanding what makes and breaks these neighborhoods, celebrating the good, and asking tough questions about the bad and ugly. Akron2Akron tours aren’t going to solve the problems of the world, but I’m confident they will raise awareness and build new friendships – notably a stronger, or in some cases, a revived friendship with our great city.

Thanks to Rick Stockburger for arranging a great itinerary for this tour and to everyone who came out and joined us. Be sure to follow along on social media #Akron2Akron for upcoming tours.

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