2016 will be a fresh start for the city of Akron, and the goal is to put the town back on the map.

Planning director Marco Sommerville, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss the potential job growth in downtown Akron, as well as recruiting businesses to lay a foundation in the city limits.

Sommerville also touched on the demolition of homes in the city. His goal is to demolish 500 houses per year.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER

A brochure advertising space for lease in two buildings at the proposed West Point Marketplace development is drawing some attention, before Akron City Council is expected to see the plans next week.

The Passov Real Estate brochure shows "Akron's first Whole Foods Market", with an artist rendering of a Whole Foods building on the west side of the property pictured very close to West Market Street.

City of Akron planning director Marco Sommerville says the location of the building near the street will be determined by a lot of input.

"Depending where that street is located, the traffic flow... a lot of people weigh in on those decisions, the fire department, the police department, the service director's office," Sommerville tells WAKR.net, "so they will have some say so how close that variance can go to the street."

Jeff Garrison from developer S.J. Collins tells WAKR in an E-mail that the brochure is not theirs, and plans have changed since then...currently with setbacks from 11 to 30 feet, including patio space.

Sommerville says there's a lot of input into the West Point Marketplace proposal...including the part about where the building will go.

"And trying to make sure that we develop a plan that's suitable for the people who want to bring the development there," Sommerville says, "and also for the residents, and make sure that it's a walking friendly environment around that facility."

The developer will not yet officially confirm that Whole Foods is the "world class specialty grocery store" that will anchor the project.

They expect to make an announcement later this month, and Garrison says they hope to keep West Point Market employees with 80 to 110 jobs expected.

Published in Local
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 12:51

Marco Sommerville Responds To Critics

On Tuesday, Ray Horner and his producer, Tony Mazur, reached out to Russel Neal on what had had been reported as a "heated exchange" in the Akron city council chambers Monday night.

On Wednesday, Marco Sommerville shared his side of the story in studio. Sommerville believed the situation was "blown out of proportion," but he did mention Neal has had a track record with clashing with other members of council, including former Mayor Plusquellic.

Sommerville also addressed Neal's accusations of choosing sides, and he defended himself over his contributions to Akron's African-American community.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Don Plusquellic's mayor's chair isn't even cold, and problems are already happening. As the Ward 5 councilwoman said, "it's like a reality show."

Tara Mosley-Samples joined the Ray Horner Morning Show expressed her frustration with city council, gave her view on how council should function, and maintained her support for Mike Williams and Linda Omobien.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Tuesday, 02 June 2015 10:56

Russel Neal Defends His Name

Jeff Fusco has pleaded in the past for peace and civility, but last night in the council chambers, it was anything but that.

According to the Beacon Journal and other bystanders, Russel Neal and Marco Sommerville exchanged some heated words in the chamber, to the point where police were called to break up the action.

What exactly happened? How did this transpire? Neal joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to give his side of the story, claiming Sommerville and others are "choosing to play politics rather than address the issues."

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER

Akron has gone nearly three full decades with the same mayor, and this weekend caps off Don Plusquellic's 28-year run in office. Marco Sommerville, planning director in the city of Akron, called into the Ray Horner Morning Show to remember Plusquellic's tenure, saying he put Akron in a much better place now than it was in 1987. Because he is calling from China, Sommerville says Akron doing "very well" in the international scene.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Sunday, 17 May 2015 10:00


The past two weeks have painted Akron City Hall more Hatfield and McCoys rather than your normal political fight. For nearly two months, controversy over the decision to disinvite a member of Akron City Council from Mayor Don Plusuqellic's annual State of the City address turned into surprise, shock, embarrassment and even derision as the story played out. It culminated a week ago into a political climax few expected: not only did Plusquellic decide he would not seek re-election for a record eighth term, he opted to skip entirely the last seven months of his term and resign in order to retire from public service. 

Amidst the charges of media bias, political theater and personal character attacks both sides were actively engaged in presenting their versions of the story to local media, in particular the Akron Beacon Journal and 1590 WAKR. More complete discussions of the role by this station and the newspaper played are available at the Beacon Journal's website www.Ohio.com and also in prior stories on this website, notably interviews conducted by Jasen Sokol with Beacon Journal columnist Bob Dyer and the editor of the Beacon Journal editorial page, Michael Douglas. 

Interviews for this program were conducted by Chris Keppler both before and after the mayor announced he was stepping down, effective the end of May. They were conducted in our newsroom.


Published in Local
Friday, 20 February 2015 10:38

What To Do About Rolling Acres?

Akron Matters discussion for the month of February with Marco Sommerville: Director of Planning and Urban Development for City of Akron, Russ Pry: Summit County Executive, and Dan Colantone: Greater Akron Chamber's President and CEO. Today's hot topic is Rolling Acres Mall. Pictures have surfaced online of the once popular site and they aren't pretty.

Listen as Ray discusses what can be done with this land with Akron's very own.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER

Planning Director for the City of Akron Marco Sommerville spoke with WAKR's Ray Horner about the EACH program, the building, and still keeping the programs alive.


Published in WAKR RAY HORNER

Akron will soon be getting a new hotel on the site of the former Goodyear headquarters site.

Appearing on the 1590 WAKR Ray Horner Morning Show, City Planning Director Marco Sommerville said the highly anticipated project will help the city tremendously.

"We're really excited about the hotel," said Sommerville.

"This will be placed off East Market Street,  and that will be able to help Goodyear when they have guests from around the world come in to see that first-class facility."

Sommerville says the new hotel will be a Hilton Garden Inn. Groundbreaking is scheduled for this summer.

Sommerville says the new hotel will be the catalyst for redevelopment in the East Akron area.

"We hope the hotel will be the beginning stages of redevelopment and improving the neighborhood," Sommerville explained.

In addition to the hotel, developers will look to add offices, residential, and retail space to encompass the former Goodyear campus.

Sommerville says the city hasn't lost sight of trying to attract hotel chains to put lodging in downtown Akron, something that has been on the table for some time.

The five-story Hilton Garden Inn is expected to open in the summer of 2014.

Previous Story: New Hotel Slated For Ex-Goodyear Site


Published in Local
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