Lock 3 has been looked as one of the main focal points in downtown Akron, but expanding the depth of the city’s center is just beginning and it starts with adding some brightness to Lock 3’s neighbor.

Along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail sits Lock 4 Park and State Route 59 where a stroll or bike ride connecting the two was often left dark and uneventful. That’s why the Knight Foundation and others have supported a national initiative called Reimagining the Civic Commons to transform and connect public spaces to bring people together. So what better way than to light up the city.

David Fierabend with Groundswell Design Group was involved in the vision of placing lighting throughout Lock 4 and Rt. 59 to draw surrounding communities to the center of Akron.

“We wanted to bring in that fun, whimsical lighting element where you kind of want to run through it, jog it and run right into town,”

The improvements don’t just include LED lighting. Movable furniture, benches and planters have been placed throughout the area to create a more attractive space for residents and visitors. Ultimately, the goal is to transform the area and Akron into a destination.

“Winning changes everything,” said Kyle Kutuchief, Knight Foundation program director for Akron.. “LeBron James brought an NBA championship trophy home just 200 yards behind where I’m sitting. We can win again in Northeast Ohio and Akron.”

This project is the first of many that will take place over the next few years --- part of a $5 million grant to make improvements along the Towpath Trail from Downtown Akron to Summit Lake.

The public will get a chance to view the improvements during Harvest Fest on Friday, November 18, from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday, November 19, from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.