The National Park Service has added Kenmore Boulevard to the National Register of Historic Places, a designation that has allowed developers elsewhere in Akron to get historic tax credits that defray project costs.

Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance (KNA), with support from the Kenmore Historic Society, local businesses, the city of Akron and Ohio Historic Preservation Pipeline Initiative, began the historic preservation nomination process in 2018 to facilitate a business revival along "The Boulevard," which is seeing new commercial activity among vacant storefronts.

“We know how daunting commercial revitalization can be, but when you factor in all the city, state and federal incentives and the increased neighborhood retail demand coming with Romig Road development, Kenmore Boulevard suddenly becomes an attractive place to invest your money,” KNA Executive Director Tina Boyes said in a prepared statement.

The area, from 872-1030 Kenmore Blvd., will be the first row of small businesses in Akron on the tax-incentivized historic register, which encompasses East End in Goodyear Heights, Glenwood Cemetery in West Hill, the Cole Avenue Housing Project in South Akron, the North Side arts district around Cascade Lofts and the Bowery redevelopment near Lock 3 Park and the Akron Civic Theatre.

Kenmore Boulevard developed quickly as Akron’s population exploded from less than 70,000 in 1910 to more than 255,000 by 1930. Kenmore was a separate city until it merged with Akron in 1929. The stretch of old buildings, served by a streetcar until 1947, remains the longest continuous stretch of businesses in the city.

“The district retains its sense of scale and feeling,” said Lauren Burge, principal at Perspectus Historic Architecture, the Chambers, Murphy & Burge Studio, which authored KNA’s nomination application. “Most of the contributing buildings to the Kenmore Boulevard Historic District were constructed within a 20-year period between 1908 and 1928 and retain their materials and workmanship, imparting the overall feeling of an early 20th century ‘streetcar suburb’ commercial district.”