Area surrounding campus is less than regal

“The tall towers of the castle can be seen for miles around. Its majesty is dwarfed only by its sheer size. A moat, complete with alligators and guards, protects the fortress from intruders. Inside, luxuries of all sorts are to be had. Royalty and those close to royalty live easy lives, knowing nothing of the outside world.”

The tall towers of the castle can be seen for miles around. Its majesty is dwarfed only by its sheer size. A moat, complete with alligators and guards, protects the fortress from intruders. Inside, luxuries of all sorts are to be had. Royalty and those close to royalty live easy lives, knowing nothing of the outside world.

In the surrounding city streets, crime and violence run rampant. The streets are filthy, and people panhandle for money to buy bread. This peasant city is a stark contrast to the fortress it surrounds.

This may sound like the castles of the days of old, but it is also quickly becoming a more accurate description of the University of Akron campus and the surrounding areas.

The university has a lot of good things going on right now, aesthetically. The Exchange Street residence hall is done and looks great. The campus grounds are always well-kept and clean. The buildings look good.

Expansion plans look promising, also. Quaker Square will be converted into a dorm. Trustees recently approved plans for the new $55 million on-campus stadium to the north of East Exchange Street to replace the Rubber Bowl.

There are plans to remodel part of east campus to create Greek Village, or whatever it’s supposed to be called. There are also plans to create yet another dorm and parking deck, though specific details haven’t been released.

This all sounds well and good for the UA castle, but people often overlook the surrounding areas. Commuters certainly wouldn’t have a reason to explore the surrounding neighborhoods, and those who live on campus probably stay away from them for the most part. After hearing of multiple muggings and robberies in these areas, who wouldn’t?

It takes a walk through these neighborhoods to fully understand what I’m talking about.

Sometime – during the day, of course – and with a friend or two, walk down into the south side of Exchange. Go down Sumner or Kling, all the way to Thornton or South, and don’t forget about Wheeler, Power, Cross and all of the other back roads.

The sidewalks are destroyed in many parts, yards are dirty and broken glass is ubiquitous. Trash is everywhere. Houses are boarded up. Where houses have been torn down, high grass and trash fill the lots. The streets are filthy.

In Boss Park on Sumner, count how many empty beer cases you see. It’s usually somewhere in the double digits.

It’s not the university’s responsibility to take care of this growing problem, but something needs to be done.

As of right now, it’s like a diamond in a pile of manure. It’s also more evidence that the university is the only thing Akron has to redeem itself. It looks bad to outsiders when the campus is polished but the neighborhoods are dirty and dangerous.

It would be great if everyone cared more about their community and worked to make it look nice, but that’s not the case. A student-led organization should be created to help remedy this problem with the goal of cleaning these neighborhoods and making the streets and city of Akron just as beautiful as the campus itself.