Akron, Ohio USA

going forward,which is a huge undertaking.There aren’t too many cities that have led the way on that; so,we’re a bit in the path-breaking mold with that.” Gsellman adds that one way in which the City is trying to accomplish that goal is tied to its sewer project.“We have goals in our consultant agree- ments and construction contracts in regards to us- ing local labor, specifically using Akron residents on the project,”he explains.“And we’ve got some very ambitious goals in regards to diversity and minority hiring, disadvantaged businesses, etc.We wanted to make sure that those jobs were supported by the local workforce and we emphasized that through- out the program.” “So,” says Hardy,“we’re making a shift from attrac- tion only, to a more diverse approach, relating to growing what we have from entrepreneurs and startups, all the way through mature firms, and also taking a look to make sure that there’s a shared prosperity that’s being developed and sustained that includes everyone and provides those ladders of opportunity.” Hardy also talks about Akron’s downtown renewal schemes: “When Mayor Horrigan came into office in January 2016, one of the first things he did was partner with our Downtown Akron Partnership to put together the framework to create a comprehen- sive vision and redevelopment plan for downtown. We never really had one that took into account all the stakeholders that need to have their voices heard in a process like that.That initiative complet- ed at the end of last year. So,we have now, for the first time ever, a comprehensive, downtown rede- velopment plan. “I’m happy to say that we closed, recently, on prob- ably the most significant redevelopment project downtown in 10 or 15 years,which we call the Bowery Project.Akron’s history is unique in that we are a canal town; we were built up around the Ohio and Erie Canal and that canal still flows through downtown, so there’s a historic block of downtown Akron that is anchored by the Akron Civic Theatre, which is one of our largest cultural amenities. It’s been blighted for the better part of 20 years.The City owned it for the last 17years and has been working to find a development team that can make that project happen.And we got it done. “The other enormous infrastructure undertaking is