PRESS RELEASE: Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS® Awarded Placemaking Grant to Help Improve East Akron Community

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, Ohio, Nov. 8, 2016 – The Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS® (ACAR) has received a $3,000.00 Placemaking micro-grant from the National Association of REALTORS® to help make the East Akron community a better place to live and work by transforming unused public spaces into vibrant community places.

The grant is intended to help REALTOR® Associations partner with others to plan, organize, implement and maintain placemaking activities in their communities

ACAR will use the funds to help the East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation (EANDC) create a positive social space (Minson Plaza) for the community of East Akron along its major corridor, South Arlington Street, and address the shortage of public gathering space in the neighborhood. The site is designed to function as a destination for people walking in East Akron at their leisure, and also as a space for programmed activities. At the center of the plaza will be a stage, surrounded by seating. When not hosting a performance, the stage will be ideal for children to engage in imaginative play. A large bench and planter will sit at the Arlington Street side, with seating facing both inward and outward, providing a resting spot for people walking up Arlington but also inviting people in to the plaza. A large chessboard will be constructed using paving stones, and a nearby bench and table will feature a small chessboard. A metalwork table, designed by a local artist and given to each of Akron’s neighborhoods through the 500 Plates public art project, will also be placed here.

Minson Plaza Before

ACAR will use the funds from a Placemaking Grant to help transform Minson Plaza, shown here.

The EANDC is spearheading this project, with additional support from the City of Akron’s Neighborhood Partnership Program; The Knight Foundation’s 500 Plates project; the Arlington Church of God volunteers; and Sam Chiarappa of Trucks Unlimited is assisting with the space and electrical needs. In addition to the micro-grant, REALTORS® look forward to helping with the build out of the plaza.

“REALTORS® live, work and volunteer in their communities and take immense pride in working to improve them,” said Stephen Merkle, President of ACAR. “Placemaking can help foster healthier, more social and economically viable communities. It creates places where people feel a strong stake in their neighborhoods and are committed to making things better. This grant will allow us to address areas in our community that are in need of improvement or redevelopment and create a place where friends and neighbors can come together.”

Placemaking grants are awarded to local and state REALTOR® associations to help them and their members initiate placemaking projects in the community, like turning a parking lot into a farmer’s market or a vacant lot into a playground. REALTOR® associations and their REALTOR® members are actively engaged in the community and know the neighborhoods and the properties that would benefit most from these improvement efforts.

“As the East Akron area becomes more attractive and welcoming, nearby properties may also increase in value,” said Merkle.

For more information on the Minson Plaza project and placemaking grants, visit

Shown is the design Concept for Minson Plaza.

Shown is the design Concept for Minson Plaza.

About ACAR

ACAR’s mission is to empower its more than 5,500 members to be professional, ethical and successful by providing exceptional services and protecting real property rights for all. For more than 100 years, our association has been the voice of real estate, dedicated to the excellence and advancement of real estate professionals in Northeast Ohio in a variety of ways – from our professional development events to participation in important legislative real estate issues. For more information on ACAR, visit or call 216-901-0130.

Media Contact:
Danielle Capriato
Communications Director
Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS®


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