OPINION

Letter: Opposes proposed Merriman Valley development

Kent Weeklies

Why is the city of Akron looking to sell 45 acres of potential parkland in the Merriman Valley to big developers?

According to news reports, the Theiss/Hardy Roads property is the last major greenspace owned by the city. A conservation organization has agreed to pay the city’s asking price in order to save the pristine woods and wetlands for future use as parkland.

It sits across from the Hampton Hills Mountain Bike area and on the doorstep of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. But so far, the city has refused to consider the land for preservation. Instead, it has pursued a rushed scheme to sell the land to developers, without any public comment or input.

Development plans include 65 to 110 houses on the site, with some selling for as much as $420,000. Appallingly, a retention pond with a fountain and benches would serve as natural landscape details, in one developer's plans.

Why is the city rushing through this backroom deal in less than three months with no public comment? How will 100 high-end houses benefit the people of Akron and nearby Cuyahoga Falls? Shouldn't the land be used for something that all Akron-area families can enjoy--especially when outdoor recreation is vital for everyone's health and well-being?

And what impact will this rushed development have on existing parks and the already traffic-heavy roads of the Valley? Make your voices heard, Akron and Cuyahoga Falls. Mayor Dan Horrigan, Development Director Abraham Westcott, and the Akron City Council must come out of the shadows in regards to this project and answer the tough questions.    

Shelley Pearsall, Akron