Civic Gateway



Located on the northern end of downtown, the Civic Gateway is comprised of a variety of recreational and social amenities, including the Akron Civic Theatre, Lock 4 Park, Lock 2 Park, Cascade Plaza and the Akron-Summit County Public Library. Design and programming across these assets reimagines the Civic Gateway as the animating civic heart of downtown, connecting thousands of office workers in nearby buildings with downtown and neighborhoods residents.


Lights change colors along Canal in Lock 4.
Photo by Tim Fitzwater


To date, the Civic Commons team has collaborated with a wide range of local and out of state organizations to bring life to these public spaces. The pedestrian bridge over the deconstructed OH-59 is the inner city’s gateway to the national park towards the north and a beautiful lake to the south. The Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail, a 101-mile route through Northeast Ohio is the tie that binds it all. The bridge has been given a bit of a face-lift with LED lighting, combined planters and seating, and a rotating art gallery featuring local artists along one side.

If one were to visit Lock 4 today, they will notice year-round lighting in both the trees and over the canal, landscaping upgrades, fire pits, and bistro seating. Community organizations have worked with the city to program the space with music, food, and festivals.


Lights over canal in Lock 2.
Photo by Katelyn Freil


Venturing a little further south, residents will notice the Lock 2 Park upgrades designed by local organization, Hazel Tree Interiors. Painted steps great visitors with streamers, wind chimes, and macramé decorating the trees. Bistro seating sprout up here and there and the once “ghost ship” now holds a Little Free Library and board game storage unit. At night, the trees and the canal light up via solar lighting.