Without Frank Hyde Waters, Akron’s Waters Park might not exist.
Waters, a prominent Akron attorney, left his estate to Akron when he died in 1933 for the city to turn into a park and playground.
He also is credited with helping to bring water and sewer to North Hill.
Now, the city is recognizing Waters for his contributions. Akron City Council voted Monday to give an honorary designation of Frank Waters Way to Olive Street between North Main and Butler streets, adjacent to Waters Park. This will be similar to the Dr. Bob’s Way designation St. Thomas previously gave to a section of Olive Street in honor of the Alcoholics Anonymous founder.
David DiDomenico, president of the Waters Park Renewal Society, told council’s Planning Committee on Monday that Waters deserves to be honored like Dr. Bob.
“I don’t see why he can’t be honored like others,” said DiDomenico, who wore a T-shirt featuring a historical photo of Waters.
The honorary designation will help mark the 76th anniversary of the dedication of Waters Park, which the park group will celebrate with a festival in September. The park was dedicated in 1937.
Council members praised DiDomenico and other park volunteers for the work they’ve done to improve Waters Park.
“I never realized who Mr. Waters was,” said Councilman Jim Hurley, who grew up in North Hill. “I’m pleased and proud to see what has transformed there.”
Councilman Russel Neal Jr. suggested that the city come up with criteria for renaming or giving honorary designations to streets to help with future requests.
Council voted last week to rename Wabash Avenue between Exchange and Bell streets to Akron General Avenue to help mark the upcoming 100th anniversary of Akron General Medical Center. The hospital owns all of the buildings on Wabash, so no other businesses will be affected by the change.
City officials researched the history of the Wabash name, but were unable to find out for whom the street was originally named.
In other business, council:
• Voted to issue notes to the Ohio Air Quality Development not to exceed $5 million to improve energy efficiency at three city-owned buildings. The project will be funded with federal tax-exempt bonds and federal tax-credit bonds issued by the state agency.
The money will be used to install new lighting and make improvements to heating, air conditioning and ventilation at the city’s Municipal Building, the Stubbs Justice Center and the CitiCenter.
City officials are hoping the project’s cost will mostly by covered through savings from the energy improvements. Work is expected to start next month.
• Announced the members of a committee that will study whether Akron should allow food trucks to operate in the city. The members are: Council Members Jeff Fusco and Margo Sommerville; Veronica Sims, an Akron school board member; Suzie Graham, who heads Downtown Akron Partnership; Guido D’Orio, who owns NEOSHRED and is a member of the North Akron Board of Trade; and John Buntin, who owns Kenmore Komics & Games and is a member of the Kenmore Board of Trade.
Fusco, who will chair the committee, said food truck and downtown restaurant owners will be invited to provide input to the committee, but won’t sit on it. Food truck operators are pushing to be allowed to operate in the city, while downtown restaurant owners have expressed concern about their business being hurt by food trucks setting up downtown.
“We’ll include everyone,” Fusco promised.