Following in the footsteps of North Hill and Middlebury, Cuyahoga Falls will be host to its own Better Block Aug. 26 and 27. During that weekend, local pop-up businesses and organizations will move in to show their support for the area. What better place to show the potential of a beautiful city than the Falls Riverfront?
The Falls Riverfront is notoriously used for events throughout the year such as concerts and car shows, but it’s rare to find people spending their free time there outside of Pokemon hunting anymore. Event organizers and Falls natives Getta Cornici and Samantha Coldwell hope to change that and “show the city and the community the potential of that area.” Through a grant from Torchbearers via the Knight Foundation, the two are able to share that dream of potential with the rest of us on a weekend that they promise is “not a typical ‘Falls Festival’, so expect something different.”
Those who attended the North Hill Better Block over a year ago may remember it as a celebration of the blending of cultures that was taking place in the area. For Cuyahoga Falls, Cornici and Coldwell were inspired by the “European feel” of the Riverfront area to choose it for a Better Block. It has historic architecture and brick roads, but lacks the pedestrian traffic you’d find across the Atlantic. A Better Block along the Riverfront will help the community realize that their own backyard is fertile for vibrancy, interaction and fun.
The two women were not alone in planning the event. They had an extensive committee backing them up comprising city employees, educators, designers and marketers, among others. In addition to their team, they had plenty of input from the community itself. They held planning meetings and conducted surveys so that they knew exactly what the residents wanted out of a Better Block experience. Maybe they could craft for just one weekend an image of what the Riverfront could be at all times.
The point of a Better Block event is that it doesn’t end after one weekend. It should carry on. That’s why Cornici and Coldwell have worked with Laura Petrella, CEO of the Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce, to help motivate the pop-up businesses to invest in their temporary weekend locations.
Opening the Riverfront to vehicles
Beyond the Better Block weekend, the city has begun work on an unrelated, though coinciding, initiative to open up the Riverfront portion of Front Street to vehicular traffic. This will likely increase housing and retail in the area. It’s serendipitous that the Falls Better Block could be used as a catalyst for this drastic and effective change in the downtown area.
Activities will take place on Friday, Aug. 26 from 5 to 11 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 27 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. During those times, guests may enjoy an open-air market, local music, art, activities, food vendors and trucks, along with pop-up businesses and wiki stores.
There are several events during the weekend that guests can make reservations for. These include a Yoga Class hosted by Li’l Yoga Shop, Balloflex, Kayak Trips with Burning River Adventures, North Akron Fit Body Bootcamp and a Pop-up Theater. You can find links to reserve your spot here.
Parking will be available in the parking decks on 2nd Street. Because this is an outdoor event, remember to plan accordingly with the weather.
Better Block planners are still looking for more volunteers. For more information and how to get involved, visit the Falls Better Block website: fallsbetterblock.com.
Here is a list of all of event sponsors:
Top Level Martial Arts
Town Money Saver
Unity Health Network
Allen Keith Construction Co.
Western Reserve Hospital
Svetla Morrison Fotografy
Smile Minded Smartworks LLC
Ohio Savings Bank
Ohio & Erie Canalway
National Church Residences Bath Road
Beckwith Heating & Cooling
Collide Cuyahoga Falls
Go With Alison Breaux for Judge
Judge Joy Oldfield
Craft Beer Bar
Mayor Don Walters
Farmer’s Insurance Agency, Hyre Insurance Agency
Coffee News Akron
The Marketing Department – Akron
Margida & Associates, Inc.
Law Director Russ Balthis
Probe Technologies LTD
Harps & Thistles Yarn Emporium
Burning River Adventures
HeART for the World
Oscar and Barbara Hunsicker
A. Caspersen Company Inc.
Councilwoman Mary Nichols-Rhodes
Councilman Adam Miller
Winkelmann Design and Construction
Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home
The Bullock Team of Union Home Mortgage
Danbury Senior Living
MTO Cleaning Services
Cuyahoga Falls City Councilman Russ Iona
Right Brain Design Group