Conclusions & Recommendations from
the Akron Commission on Civil Disorder Report (1969)

Government Economics Education Housing General Recommendations Full Report The Akron Summit
Akron African Village AAV - Resource Page


Services Conclusion:

1. City services within the City of Akron have been (and still are) inadequate in certain areas, particularly those in which the residents are predominately black

    a. Garbage collections are not made with the same frequency in all areas despite the fact that the cost of such service is paid from the general fund.
    b. There is no City program for frequent removal of trash. The present policy of once a year picking up trash placed in containers on the devil strip along paved streets is inadequate and discriminatory.
    c. Street cleaning is inadequate particularly on the streets where the need is the greatest. This situation is due to the method of financing street cleaning as fixed by ordinance; namely, dividing the city into zones for street cleaning purposes and making the frequency of cleaning depend directly on the amount assessed for such service against the property owners with a different rate of assessment in each zone.
    d. Certain areas are without sanitary sewers.
    e. Streetlighting is inadequate in certain areas needing good lighting the most.
    f. The existence of a large number of private streets complicates the problem of providing sewer and lighting on these streets.

2. While the evidence indicates an awareness on the part of the Akron City administration of the various problem areas in providing services, there is some indication of a feeling of lack of urgency on their part in resolving such problems.

3. There is no program in the City administration to enforce compliance with ordinances pertaining to building codes, sanitary conditions, etc. Enforcement is now directly through the Mayor's office or the Department of Health.

4. Information to the public has been inadequate as to City practices and policies in these problem areas.

5. City officials appear prone to rely upon the possibility of receiving funds from the state and Federal governments in meeting needs in service areas.

6. Complaints to various departments of city government are not systematically handled. Those that are directed to city councilmen seem to get best results.

7. There is no central source of information whereby citizens can get information about city activities, division of responsibility, etc.

8. Opportunities for employment of blacks in City government varies substantially from department to department. The Fire Department is especially deficient in this respect.


Service Recommendations:

1. The Akron City administration should take whatever steps may be necessary to assure that all essential services are provided to citizens throughout the city on a fair and equitable basis.

1. Steps should be taken to provide street cleaning on a total city basis so that streets needing the most cleaning will receive the most cleaning. If this requires enabling legislation by City Council, prompt consideration should be given thereto

2. Attention should be given to the end that garbage collections are made with sufficient frequency in all areas and that no discrimination between or within areas be permitted.

3. The City administration should adopt a program for regular and frequent trash removal.

4. The City administration should study all areas of the city to the end that adequate street lighting will be furnished where and to the extent needed.

5. Steps should be taken as soon as possible to provide all areas with sanitary sewers.

6. Steps have already been taken by the City to obtain easements from property owners on private streets for installments of sewers and to provide street lighting. This effort is commended and should be extended to the end that all such private streets will have adequate sewers and street-lighting services.

2. The various building codes and building maintenance legislation should be reviewed to assure that such legislation does not or will not preclude the use of modern, less costly materials in the construction of needed housing units, when such materials are adequate to perform their required function.

3. To the end that there may be vested in one official the responsibility for strict enforcement of building codes, sanitary codes, and other regulations dealing with building, serious consideration should be given to establishing such an office.

4. A department of public relations or public information should be established in the city government to the end that the public can be kept well informed as to the progress of the city in all aspects of its activities.

5. The administration should make sure that opportunities for employment and advancement are present for all qualified citizens, regardless of race, creed, and sex, throughout the city government.

6. The administrative and legislative branches should cooperate in a study of the budgeting and expenditure patterns of the municipal government and, if more funds are needed to provide adequate services on an equitable basis for all citizens, such funds should be sought.


Recreation Conclusions:

1. The lack of good recreation and park facilities in the City of Akron has been recognized but comprehensive action to remedy this failure has not been undertaken.

2. There has been little creative thinking with respect to programs of municipal recreation.

3. There has been a steady deterioration of virtually all parks throughout the City. Especially noticeable is the deterioration of parks in black neighborhoods.

4. Both the scope of programmed activities ~d the quality of park facilities within black areas are inadequate to meet the needs of the citizens for whom they are intended.

5. In the areas where the civil disorders occurred in the summer of 1968, minimal programs were staffed on a part-time basis on grounds at Lane and Robinson Schools, and the Perkins Woods Park and Pool were operated on a full-time basis.

a. The Recreation Division made no effort to devise special activities or attempts to augment programming in the troubled areas during the civil disturbances.
b. Throughout the entire City of Akron in the summer of 1968, forty ten-week summer programs, basically for younger children, were in progress.

6. There is much evidence of lack of understanding on the part of Akron citizens concerning the organization and functions of the Parks and Recreation Bureau, which includes four Divisions; namely, the Recreation Division, the Parks Division, the Golf Division and the Stadium Division, and also the Parks Board.

7. Political and financial support of the Parks and Recreation Bureau by both the citizens and the city government,.is conspicuously deficient. During 1965 the budget for the operation of this Bureau represented approximately $0.70 per capita. During 1966 this figure rose to approximately $1.40 per capita, and in 1967 it again increased to about $2.80 per capita. The standard level of support recommended by national parks' advisory agencies is approximately $6.00 per capita and in many Ohio cities the level is well above the standard.

8. The Parks and Recreation Bureau suffers in not attaining even minimal programming through the method followed in the Akron city government for financing its operations. Political considerations are possible under the present system, in which all "capital improvements" are paid out of a single fund controlled by the City Council.

Recreation Recommendations:

1. A Master Plan for the development of the City's Recreational Programs should be prepared. The Mayor, through his administration, should seek out leaders of our community (black and white) who are concerned for the public recreation program and appoint a Citizens' Committee. This Committee would be charged with the formulation of a long-range master plan for recreation and parks throughout the City of Akron. The Metropolitan Park Board and surrounding community park and recreation bodies should be consulted in the development of such a plan. The Master Plan Committee should include in its study:

a. A review of the effectiveness of the Division structure currently in existence;
b. An analysis of the composition and duties of the Parks and Recreation Board; and
c. The means whereby a more stable and adequate level of financing for the park and recreation program in Akron can be provided.

2. The Parks and Recreation Bureau should immediately initiate a plan that will provide at the earliest possible moment new programming and facilities within parks now located in minority neighborhoods which will make them operationally comparable to those in the City's regional parks such as Mason, Patterson, Firestone, and Reservoir Parks.

3. Installation of intermediary or "tot-lot" neighborhood parks scattered throughout Akron, especially involving the improvement of selected neighborhoods, should be undertaken at the earliest opportunity.

4. In certain parks located in proximity to compacted areas (such as Elizabeth Park and Perkins Woods), where a shelter house is an integral part of the facilities, employment of augmented park staffs on a full-time basis should be planned.

5. Park programs should emphasize variety. Park staffs should not emphasize athletics to the detriment of cultural and self-improvement activities. Emphasis should be placed on the arts and group activity programming so as to potentially involve all residents, young and old. The desires of the teenage group should be especially noted, directed, and promoted.

6. Criteria for regular and summer employment should be nondiscriminatory and publicized.

7. The Administrators of parks and recreation programs should communicate with citizens more fully:

a. The Parks and Recreation Bureau should establish communication with citizens by initiating the establishment of neighborhood groups in numerous parts of the City, so as to permit expressions of neighborhood opinion in all matters pertaining to recreation and parks in their areas. It is to be hoped that youth, both boys and girls, will be encouraged to participate in such representative groups.

b. The Mayor and other representatives of the city government should visit the parks and recreational events of note at every opportunity to demonstrate the relationship between the city government and the Parks and Recreation Bureau.

c. Appointment of black members to the Parks and Recreation Board is an imperative step in the immediate future. Inclusion of the points of view of minorities on decisions affecting forms of recreation and cultural aims of neighborhood areas must be provided, in order that this Board may truly represent all the people in directing the work of the Bureau.


Law Enforcement Conclusions:

1. The Akron Police Department is a highly professional department which minimizes specialization and emphasizes mobility and centralized communication. Its overall performance with limited manpower has been good, however, it has been highly sensitive to criticism, and has rejected criticisms without regard to their validity. The Chief of Police reports directly to the Mayor which may contribute to this situation.

2. The Akron Police Department has been much more effective in its law enforcement than it has in public relations. It has been least effective in its relations with the blacks in Akron.

3. There has been an increase in the training of new policemen and in-service training of the present force about human relations and their importance.

4. There have been numerous instances of rude, belligerent, and discriminatory actions on the part of individual officers. These are not condoned by the department and when complaints are made, an investigation is undertaken with appropriate disciplinary action by the department if justified.

5. The Police feel strongly that disciplinary procedures should be handled internally and confidentially. This results in an unawareness on the part of the general public of such actions and a feeling of doubt that they really take place. The complainant is informed of the action but not all of the many people he may have talked to about the incident.

6. The Police Department has not been very effective in recruiting blacks for positions as policemen.

7. The Police, Sheriff's Deputies, and National Guardsmen were subjected to extreme abuse during the period of disorder and generally did not respond with force or violence.

8. Beat patrols are the most effective but almost the most expensive type of police protection. The recent increase in manpower has permitted a limited number of beats to be established.

9. Police protection has been least consistent in the areas with concentrations of blacks. As a result, many incidents are not reported to the Police because of a fear of reprisal, or the belief that it would be a waste of time.

10. There is much confusion on the part of the public as to the powers and responsibilities of the police in such areas as arrests and convictions, stopping illegal activities such as prostitution, gambling, and handling juveniles.

11. The combination of individual discriminatory actions, inconsistent responses to calls, the small number of blacks on the force and the reports of brutality by police here and in other cities has created a situation in which blacks have failed to support the police in their work and at the same time have demanded better protection.

12. The support of the police levy in black wards suggests a basic support for the police, but there is also a lack of respect and a hostility toward the police on the part of many blacks.


Law Enforcement Recommendations:

1. The Akron Police Department should continue to expand its training and education of new and present officers in the area of human relations, with special emphasis on the problems of blacks in contemporary society. There should be more reliance on experts and specialists outside the Department in the training.

2. The Department should intensify its efforts to recruit blacks.

3. The Community Relations Bureau should be expanded in number and in scope to permit more involvement in in-service training and public education about the duties and responsibilities of both the police and the public in maintaining a system of law and justice.

4. The Department should establish a system to follow-up complaints, at least on a spot-check basis, to determine if they have been handled satisfactorily. The good will, confidence, and support of the' public are critical aspects of an effective Police Department.

5. The Police Department must respond to all calls with equal promptness and treat all citizens with dignity and courtesy, allowing for priorities in terms of seriousness.

6. Members of the black community must accept their responsibility as citizens and support the police in the performance of their duties. A black criminal or hoodlum must be recognized as a possible law breaker first rather than as a black. This will facilitate the providing of better service and protection and also help change prejudices individual policemen may have.

7. All members of the Police Department should participate more fully in the life of the community. Cooperation with and by social agencies, youth groups, civic clubs, and the like, will produce increased participation and will gain support for the police.

8. Police assignments should generally be made without regard to race, but there may be situations where special assignments are appropriate for black or white officers, and these should be made without concern for charges of discrimination.

9. A simplified and well-publicized method of filing and processing complaints against policemen should be established. The legal rights of both citizens and policemen should be protected.

10. All civil service examinations for appointment and promotion should be studied for (1) their relevance for law enforcement officers in modern urban areas, and (2) questions which tend to discriminate against blacks or contain cultural biases.

11. Effectiveness in Community Relations should be a factor in the promotion and recognition policies of the Department.

12. There should be serious consideration by the Mayor of ways to achieve more citizen involvement with the Police Department which do not interfere with the basic aspects of police work.



Industry, Business, Labor, Employment Conclusions:

1. Large companies Lend to have official policies of nondiscrimination in employment; but where these policies have not been vigorously implemented, earlier practices remain unchanged.

2. Charges of discrimination in industry and business are directed more toward personnel officers, supervisors and foremen, and hourly paid employees than top management.

3. Some companies have attempted to relate racial balance in employees with that of the population in the area in which they are located.

4. There has been an increase in the number of blacks hired by the large companies. Numerically, the increase has been greatest among the hourly paid workers. Although in numbers the increase is not great, percentage has been substantial. Blacks still tend to be placed in least desirable working conditions and given little chance for meaningful advancement.

5. There was some evidence of discrimination-in-reverse regarding salaried positions. A qualified black individual has considerable opportunity for employment. There is also evidence, however, that this represents only tokenism on occasion--a desire to have a black employee prominently displayed.

6. The most important single cause for changes in hiring and promotional practices has been the pressure from the Federal government particularly where government contracts are involved. A recipient of a government contract must guarantee nondiscriminatory practices in employment.

7. Those industries and businesses, most frequently the smaller ones, which have no contracts with the Federal government lack requirements for nondiscrimination. In such cases, policies and practices on racial matters tend to depend on personal attitudes which are more likely to be discriminatory.

8. Industrial managers report that the so-called hard-core blacks have been generally unprepared in skills and attitudes to compete in the industrial setting. These are mostly males, 16-25 years of age, and if they have work experience, it is in seasonal, part-time low-paying jobs. Current programs such as MDTA, STRIDE and NAB are effective but involve only a small proportion of the total who need training.

9. The increase in employment opportunities has not usually been accompanied by opportunities for advancement based on merit. This has been a factor in absenteeism, quitting of jobs, and uncooperative behavior on the job on the part of blacks.

Industry, Business; Labor, Employment Recommendations:

1. Discriminatory employment and promotion practices must be eliminated. Such practices in industrial and business settings have a profound negative effect on the community. The elimination of these practices requires industrial and business leaders of' the community to assume a more meaningful share of the leadership necessary for dealing; with these problems. Such positive leadership should include:
(a) A continuing examination of employment policies dealing with race relations and a sustained effort at implementing nondiscriminatory policies at all levels of employment and promotion;
(b) Emphasis on personal involvement rather than exclusive reliance on financial support in the area of race relations;
(c) Taking public positions on questions of race relations particularly as related to the work situation; and
(d) Providing support for other community leaders in their efforts to prevent discrimination in other areas of community life.

2. Small business organizations must adopt and implement nondiscriminatory employment practices. The various trade associations should influence their members to follow the lead of those companies who contract with the Federal Government and adopt policies of nondiscrimination. It should be possible for the small businessman to recognize that his own self-interest coincides with that of his community--that discrimination in employment practices is inimical to his community and to his business.

3. Inasmuch as decent employment is crucial to a decent standard of living, those persons who can control or influence employment in various ways should accept the fact that they have no right to let personal prejudices influence their actions. Employers, managers, supervisors, foremen, union officials, and stewards have the responsibility to accept persons who can provide the necessary skills field services without discriminating because of race, creed, or color.

4. Company personnel must be properly oriented to programs for the employment of the hard-core or disadvantaged, and they must be organizationally supported, especially by top management. Personnel directors in particular should seek to include the disadvantaged rather than to exclude them. In conjunction with this, the limited value of traditional selection devices must be understood. Shyness and the lack of responsiveness of the disadvantaged to standard testing procedures are well documented. Similarly, the stigmatization of welfare recipients, arrestees, public school failures, job hoppers, etc. must be transcended, for these are the very criteria by which the disadvantaged are defined.

5. Absolute adherence to formal job qualifications should be eliminated as neither a high school diploma nor a college degree provide a guarantee of adequate performance on the job. Individuals should be hired because they can do a job. Formal credentials or their equivalent should make a person eligible for consideration for employment. A police record should not automatically disqualify an individual. The employer must examine the type of offense and circumstances of its commitment to determine if the individual is eligible to be hired.

6. In view of the special problems of the disadvantaged job seeker, priority consideration must be given to:
1. employment (even if tentative) before training; or minimally, to
2. guaranteed hiring upon successful completion of training.

Pre-apprenticeship training should be greatly expanded. Because a substantial number of black youth are unprepared for employment, training programs such as the Manpower Development Training Program, STRIDE, and others should be expanded and should get the full support of local business and industry. Every effort should be made to train only for jobs available and to train only sufficient numbers of persons for whom potential jobs exist. Successful completion of training must be followed by employment. The training programs will fall into disrepute if ex-trainees have no jobs available to them after completion of training.

7. In view of the skills· gap dilemma, it is desirable for employers to re-evaluate their current job structure. Some companies have found that by breaking down highly complicated jobs into separate, simplified components, entry level jobs can be created to serve the manpower needs of the employer and the job needs of the disadvantaged. Similar re-evaluation can and must be undertaken if we are to even begin to solve the unemployment problems of women and youth. Imaginative and creative reorganization and redefinition of jobs for skilled, as well as unskilled workers and recruits, have value throughout industry and business.

8. The industrial and business setting must make it possible for the black employee to function. The introduction of black employees into a previously all-white business or department of an industry may be difficult initially for both the blacks and the whites. Adequate support must be given to both groups by management. Management must make it clear, however, that it expects compliance with its decision to introduce black employees.

It may be necessary to provide the hard-core person, both black and white, with intensive on-the-job counseling initially in order to maximize his chances of remaining on the job and becoming a productive worker.

9. Blacks must be fully aware of the job opportunities. Information regarding availability of jobs needs to be disseminated more widely. Success in this effort would not only make it possible for interested individuals to check into job opportunities but would also help eliminate some of the widespread rumors that industry has no place for black people.

The public relations sections of the various industries should consider the use of pamphlets, newspapers, films and television to get the message across that industry welcomes blacks. Personal contact is also necessary. This can be accomplished through the various neighborhood organizations in existence and those yet to be organized. There are many programs which address themselves to the poor and the staffs have the direct and personal access to the community which industry lacks. Business and industrial representatives should maintain contact with such key people and use them as intermediaries to spread up-to-date information regarding employment.

10. Any contractor before being awarded a contract for job financed by the City of Akron should be required to submit a pledge of nondiscrimination and a program of employment and promotion that will assure it.

11. All labor unions should examine their own policies and practices with regard to membership, elections, and support in grievance procedures for possible discrimination against blacks.

12. Labor unions should support companies which are making efforts to eliminate discrimination in their employment and promotion policies.

Finance, Credit Conclusions:

1. Official policies of banks and savings and loan companies appear to be nondiscriminatory in terms of reviewing applicants for loans and credit. The same standards are basically applied to all. Department stores and retail outlets are much more individualized in their standards and, therefore, more likely to be discriminatory.

2. Because of their lower employment levels and concentration in residential areas in certain sections of the city, the application of these standards to blacks on an equal basis with whites results in a much poorer opportunity to actually get loans or credit and is in fact discriminatory in its effects.

3. The young are considered poor risks because they have not yet established a record of responsibility, while the older persons cannot get assistance because they have a limited time of employment for. repayment purposes.

4. It takes three to five years or more to re-establish a good credit rating once it has been lost. This particularly affects the black who is attempting to upgrade himself through some of the recent opportunities for job training or entry into new fields of employment.

5. On home, large appliance and car loans, the down payment required is usually too high to permit most low-income persons to receive loans through the larger lending institutions which have lower interest rates.

6. Insurance companies frequently refuse coverage of homes in cases where lending institutions are otherwise inclined to take a chance.

7. Black contractors and businessmen believe there are double standards in making loans for purposes of meeting payrolls or purchasing materials.

8. Banks and savings and loan companies believe that many persons who would be eligible do not know about or utilize their services.

Finance, Credit Recommendations:

1. Financial, industrial, and business institutions should investigate the possibilities and opportunities of establishing an Institution for Investment in Economic Opportunities for Blacks.

2. The criteria for determining "risk" level should be re-examined with a view toward assisting blacks who do not meet traditional criteria in getting credit but who deserve help.

3. A consulting service should be made available to persons in the low-income groups to advise them on matters such as personal budgets, comparative buying, methods and costs of installment buying, and management of personal income. One logical and available source of talent for such an undertaking would be the recently retired persons from the financial, industrial, and business community.



Education Conclusions:

1. Segregation does exist in the City of Akron and de facto segregation exists in the schools.

2. Racial isolation in the schools, whatever its origin inflicts harm upon both black and white students and the entire social structure.

3. As an American citizen the black student is entitled to a first-class education. This expectation is precisely the one which white students have but are more likely to have fulfilled.

4. At present the Akron Public Schools recruit at only two predominately Negro colleges - Central State and Wilberforce-thus limiting the availability of black educators.

5. Compensatory programs such as Remedial Reading, Remedial Mathematics, Junior First-Grade Readiness, Pre-Kindergarten, Academic Day Camp, Learning Resource Centers, Counselor-Home Visitors, and Tutoring have been somewhat successful in efforts to improve individual achievement in both public and parochial schools.

6. The responsibility for equal, integrated and quality educational opportunity must be shared by the entire community; business leaders, professionals, clergymen, civic groups, and fraternal organizations as well as school officials and this responsibility is not fully accepted at the present time.

7. Community-school relations have varied widely in their effectiveness from school to school and neighborhood to neighborhood.

Education Recommendations:

1. A coalition of government, business, industry, and education should exert vigorous and bold leadership in Akron's efforts to eliminate segregation in the City of Akron and de facto segregation in the schools.

2. Increased numbers of qualified minority personnel should be employed on each professional,.paraprofessional, and subprofessional level, especially at the policy-making level.

3. Special pre-service education should be a requirement. for new urban teachers.

4. Both intensive and extensive in-service training should continually be strengthened as a necessary activity concurrent with striving toward educational excellence.

5. A requirement for educational excellence in our schools is a continuing revision of the curriculum to make it relevant to all classes and races of people served by the schools.

6. The success of the Head Start and other preschool programs in bridging, the benefits of comprehensive early childhood education to children from disadvantaged homes should be the basis for expanded services to all such children.

7. To increase the relevance of education to needs and aspirations of disadvantaged youths and to prepare them for full participation in society, opportunities for vocational education should be expanded. It is also important to stress that these programs must provide important and relevant quality education.

8. To making better use of the major capital investment in school plants, school facilities should be available during the after normal school hours and on weekends for a variety of community service functions for both children and adults. This approach will encourage residents to regard their schools as vital community centers.

9. Year-round education is needed, but not twelve months of the same routine. Innovative programs tailored to educational needs and providing a wide range of educational activities (verbal skills, culture and arts, recreation, job training, work experience and camps) should be developed during the summer months.

10. As the school board and school administration discover performance differentials among the schools, the causes should be sought and remedied as quickly as possible.

11. Opportunities for community and parental participation in the school system are essential to the successful functioning of schools. School personnel should seek the consultation of non-pro Professional in the community in developing school policies. A Task Force composed or school board members, the principal, teachers, parents, and students should be developed for every school or cluster of schools.

12. Parents and educators must make the learning process from pre-kindergarten through high school, so attractive to children that they will be eager to be in school instead of conniving to stay out.

13. The emphasis of the school system should be on Urban Living which encompasses the relationships among classes, races, and the total way of life of the citizens.

14. The University of Akron should seek to employ greater numbers of qualified black personnel on both the academic and nonacademic levels.

15. Ghetto concern must be a vital part of The University of Akron's service to the greater Akron community.

16. The University of Akron should continue its efforts to develop new courses and to create options in existing courses to educate all students about the black man and his contributions to the development of the United States.

17. The University of Akron should seek ways to provide more tuition free educational opportunities for both black and white young people of high potential and limited financial resources.



Housing Conclusions:

1. Patterns of racial segregation in housing throughout Akron and nearby communities are obvious and continuing, despite many efforts and laws intended to ameliorate the City's housing problems.

2. Reports of discriminatory practices, with respect to housing, were consistently heard from black witnesses. No white witness appeared who acknowledged that he or the civic sector of which he was a representative currently engages in racially discriminatory practices.

3. More than two-thirds of Akron's black citizens are concentrated in only 17 of the City's 58 census tracts, most of which are deteriorated neighborhoods.

4. Creation and growths of black ghettos in Akron, mostly during the past twenty-five years, cannot be explained solely in terms of increases in black population. White hostility toward virtually all issues and actions which involve the prospect of acquiring black neighbors has strongly shaped the City’s changing patterns.

5. One of the root causes of the civil disorders in July, 1968, was the aggravated compression of black people into Akron ghettos primarily as a consequence of the urban renewal programs in the Grant-Washington area, the area south of the University, and the downtown area.

6. Lax enforcement of Akron's housing and building ordinances contributes distresses to ghetto tenants, further aggravating the injuries of unstoppable overcrowding.

7. There is still a serious shortage of low-cost and low-rental housing. No new housing of any description has been constructed under Akron's urban renewal program. In this respect, expectations have not been realized. The failure to provide living accommodations for the thousands of citizens dispossessed represents a deficiency in both the philosophy and the implications of urban renewal. The "relocation service" offered to those citizens has greatly contributed to the compacting of the ghettos. Even less excusable is the practice, too frequently followed, whereby Akron residential properties have been condemned, commandeered, demolished and left as empty scars on the city, in locations so small and scattered as to preclude any possibility of private developers undertaking suitably large-scale projects of constructing new residences, low cost or otherwise. Subsequent use of these sites as commercial parking lots is a further irony.

8. Authorized, recognized, and responsible leaders and officials of the City have taken too little interest in the emergence of housing situations which have entrapped thousands of Akron citizens in environments which individually are merely inadequate but which collectively comprise a menace to the public.

9. Since the civil disturbances in July, 1968, the only visible step taken by Akron's city government to mitigate the City’s housing crises has been the appointment of a Housing Commission.

10. Most ghetto dwellers consistently demonstrate good citizenship. Their captivity within the ghettos is exploited, however, both by criminal elements for their purposes, and by aroused black leadership for demonstrations of the injustices of the predicaments of which they are a part but which they are incapable of resolving by themselves.

11. Some progress is being made. Akron is fortunate in containing and benefiting from a variety of housing programs and excellent private enterprises all dedicated to amelioration of housing problems. Current accomplishments by the federally funded Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, under which 1400 housing units are now being operated, with provision of many hundreds more in prospect, should be singled out for commendation. Similarly, the constructive efforts of such non-government organizations as Fair Housing Contact Service, West Side Neighbors, Inpost, and the Lane Improvement Association, are contributing much of value to the community.

House Recommendations:

1. A Summit County Housing Coordinating Agency should be established by joint action of mayors and commissioners and charged with the following duties:
(a) Soliciting and reviewing current information from all agencies (governmental and private) engaged in programs related to amelioration of housing problems; coordinating and disseminating the resultant information to citizens and agencies, whereby pertinent facts can readily be made known to any inquirer.
(b) Sponsoring and publicizing "self-help programs," throughout Summit County, whereby individuals and groups seeking to rehabilitate housing can be given guidance and voluntary assistance on a coordinated basis.
(c) Publicizing instances of salutary housing accomplishments, and of instances of prejudicial injustices in housing affairs, as contributions of value in, community education.
(d) Assisting in the development of essential housing programs in both the public and private sectors throughout Summit County.
It is recognized that to establish any such county-wide agency, and to provide it necessary support, may require legislative and financial innovations, in order to qualify it to work across all boundaries. To make its activities possible and effective, it should be provided with public and/or private funds sufficient to permit employment of a professionally qualified full-time executive director, and to pay for essential office accommodations and services.

2. Existing or improved housing and building codes should be strictly enforced, particularly with respect to the correction by landlords of unsafe, unsanitary or excessively dilapidated housing. Whenever appealed to by tenants of substandard living accommodations, the City should be prompt and adamant in requiring compliance with applicable codes and ordinances.

3. With the passage of numerous city, state and Federal laws prohibiting discriminatory housing practices, perpetrators of such practices should expect their illegal activities to be given the same treatment in the Akron Beacon Journal and the other news media as other law breakers receive; namely, prompt and conspicuous citation.

4. Rehabilitation of large tracts of substandard housing, as a civic objective, seems as urgent and significant a requirement as demolition and reconstruction. Economic integration of neighborhoods, whereby the affluent and the not-so-affluent and the poor I can reside in community, is another essential objective, to assure long-term civic stability.

5. Future extensions of Akron's urban renewal program should include firmly-planned arrangements to provide replacement housing on a scale at least as substantial as the intended residential demolition.


General Recommendations

A council of representatives from all political subdivisions in Summit County--Cities, Towns, and Villages, the County, Townships, and School Districts--should be created for the purpose of examining and recommending to' their respective units ways of cooperating and coordinating those actions which have impact beyond their unit. It seems indisputable that effective resolution of many of the areas referred to in this report cannot be achieved by the unilateral action of one political unit. At present, there seems to be a willingness to shift problems from one jurisdiction to another without recognition of the fact that they are thereby left unsettled. The creation of a council to undertake joint consideration of the complex problems which Summit County citizens must face would not threaten the sovereignty of any unit. It would require that the welfare of the community as a whole be placed above narrow partisan interests. Such a council should be initiated as an advisory and recommendatory body, with any change in its status to be reserved for the future.