The University Park Alliance isn’t going to climb out of its financial hole on its own. The economic development group requires assistance, including, likely, from creditors settling for less than they are owed.
On Monday, the city of Akron stepped up with a $600,000 loan guarantee, easing the financial burden stemming from Valley Savings Bank seeking to protect its position in view of the alliance struggling with payments. The guarantee carries risk. Yet the support is crucial if the alliance partners, including the city, the three hospitals, the University of Akron and local businesses, are going to protect what has been gained.
The alliance has a most ambitious goal of remaking 50 blocks around the university. For now, that seems even more distant. Yet there is much to build upon, from the commitment of neighborhood groups to the early pieces, in properties, especially, of what the effort promises.
Even the disappointing unraveling of the past year holds value, reinforcing that this is hard work, requiring the sustained commitment and attention of the partners. All of that is essential to regaining the investment of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has experienced its own knocks. Now the city has pointed ahead, knowing the potential reward at its core.