Better Block Akron’s inaugural neighborhood event will take place May 15 through 17. The “Temple Square” block in North Hill (the intersection of Cuyahoga Falls Avenue and North Main Street) will be adorned with temporary landscaping, bicycle lanes and popup businesses in currently empty storefronts, along with live music, art, an open air market and a number of other attractions.
Dr. Naresh Subba, co-owner of Family Groceries, shares his involvement in the event and the need for better understanding among cultures.
How did you get involved?
I think it was Kyle (Kutuchief, from Knight Foundation) and his team stopped at our store a few months ago, had a short conversation and handed me some flyers/brochures. That’s when I came to know the Knight Foundation and Better Block’s plans to organize Open Streets along with pop-up shops in North Hill neighborhood in Akron. I was instantly excited and I was in it right away!
Why did you get involved?
Plans to strengthen North Hill Neighborhood as a welcoming place for diverse cultures is a noble idea. I thought I would be able to make some contribution by letting the neighborhood know that we do live in the same neighborhood as many others do.
Why should people attend?
This event will provide an opportunity for people to interact with, ask questions and become familiar with strangers. There will be different types of food to try out, songs, dances and music to enjoy, games and sports for fun, and many other activities that highlight the good aspects of the North Hill community.
What does this program mean to you?
It means a lot to me. I hope to learn a lot of new things during the three-day event. Especially, I’d like to see an active participation of both the immigrant/refugee communities as well as the local American communities to better understand among ourselves and be able to build trust and appreciation for each other, and thereby build one strong North Hill community in Akron.
What does it mean to North Hill?
North Hill Akron is home to a diverse group of people with equally diverse backgrounds, stories, cultures and traditions. It means opportunity to meet and interact and should pave a way towards building closer ties, understanding, trust and appreciation for each other. Based on these foundations, we can, then utilize our resources to build one strong vibrant North Hill community.
What will it mean for other neighborhoods?
If we are able to create an environment in the North Hill Neighborhood where all people feel welcome, it could become a place of destination. For instance, speaking of myself, one reason I bought a small house and continue to live in the Kent neighborhood is the open and welcoming environment in the neighborhood that I experienced when I went to Kent State University as a student. There, one gets to interact with people from all across the globe and everyone feels comfortable with another. I believe this is one little thing that all neighborhoods should encourage in order to build an all-inclusive vibrant community with diverse cultures.