Residents will be able to meet “Rosie,” the 30-foot-wide, 40-foot-long massive tunnel boring machine before it begins its journey under downtown Akron at the “Rosie Digs Akron” kickoff, Saturday, Aug. 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hosted by the city of Akron and Akron Waterways Renewed!, the event will take place at the Mustill Store, 57 W. North St., and include free tours, food and educational activities, along with a special Thirsty Dog brew and Rosie shirts made by Rubber City Clothing.
This will be the only opportunity for residents to see the tunneling machine up close before it begins to dig the 6,200-foot-long Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel (OCIT). According to tunneling tradition, a tunneling machine cannot start work until it is given a name. By tradition, the machine is generally named after a woman as a sign of good luck for the project ahead.
“Rosie” is named after Rose May Jacob, an Akron native who worked as a C-47 wing riveter at Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Akron during World War II. The name was selected in 2015, as part of a public competition to name the tunnel boring machine. The name “Rosie” and the imagery of Rosie the Riveter exemplify Akron’s reputation for being a hard-working community that tackles challenges with grit and determination.
The “Rosie Digs Akron” event will feature two free tours. The first is a trolley tour to the tunnel site, where visitors may have their picture professionally taken up-close and personal with Rosie. The pictures will be edited and uploaded to www.akrowaterwaysrenewed.com. Information will be provided so participants may easily access and download their photos after the event. Anyone wishing to have their photo taken with Rosie should wear closed-toe shoes.
The other available tour will be a walking tour to the OCIT overlook on Hickory Street, where project personnel will be available to answer questions about Rosie, OCIT and the AWR! program.
Akron residents are encouraged to bring items representing their memories about Akron to be included in a time capsule that will be buried near the site. The first 500 adults to attend the “Rosie Digs Akron” event will receive a special commemorative “OCIT” coin, and the first 1,000 youth will receive a commemorative children’s souvenir.
Parking locations will be clearly marked in the vicinity of the event (including the St. Vincent, St. Mary parking lot, Northside Station lot, and at the lot at the corner of North and Howard streets). Buses will be shuttling guests to and from their cars throughout the event.
For info, visit www.akronwaterwaysrenewed.com.