Stories

Summer Review for Summit Metro Parks: Improvements So Far

August 1, 2017
By Bob Downing

There is a new look at Summit Lake, and even bigger things are coming.

The fence around the playground is gone. Giant boulders and logs have been added to provide a more-natural play area. A tent and benches have been installed, and a dozen picnic tables with umbrellas plus cooking grills are on the way. The tent and the surrounding grassy area can now be used as a stage or small amphitheater for musical events.

But the biggest visible change is along the lake’s shoreline. Vegetation has been removed, and rocks and gravel have been added to a 100-foot-long section on the lake’s northeast side. It provides safe and easy access right up the water’s edge. Rotting vegetation was excavated from the near-shore water and rocks and sand were added in the water.

 

Photo by Katelyn Freil

 

The changes improved public access to the water and improved views across the lake, says Nick Moskos, chief of planning and development for Summit Metro Parks.

The park district is reshaping the public space around the Summit Lake Community Center – thanks to a grant from the Akron Civic Commons. It received a $320,000 grant to help revitalize the Summit Lake neighborhood and opened a satellite nature center.

Previously, the vegetation largely blocked any views from the shoreline looking to the west across Summit Lake, Moskos said. The work has also boosted safety because the rocks and the sand in the water are an improvement over the muck that had been there previously, especially for youngsters who step off the shoreline, he said. Anglers can now safely get to the water, not always an easy task previously. That section of shoreline now has a “safe floor” in the water, Moskos explained.

The reshaped shoreline could also be a launching spot in the future for canoe or kayak programs on Summit Lake, he said. Swings for adults will be added along the shoreline, while the park district is still working to design a plan to improve public lighting outside the Summit Lake center, as well.

Summit Metro Parks is soon to kick off an even-bigger look at Summit Lake: a master plan for the 100-acre lake in south Akron.

It is unclear how long the work in Akron might take, but the results are “months away,” Moskos said. He mentions that there will be significant public input from the neighborhood as the effort moves forward. The park district’s only prior involvement at Summit Lake was maintaining the Towpath Trail. With both physical progress and solid planning at the forefront, Summit Lake is on its way to breathing new life into the area—one part of nature at a time.