The City of Akron is taking some extra time to look at its plan to purchase and renovate the Mayflower Manor downtown, which has the 200-plus residents of the former hotel concerned about their collective future.
At-large Councilman Jeff Fusco said the primary goal was to assure the residents of the Mayflower that they would find adequate housing if the city's plan to buy the building goes through.
"We will be looking to hire consultants to assist with the relocation of the residents so that they are all taken care of," Fusco said.
"The city will be looking to make sure that the housing they are relocated to is safe and better than their current living situation if this moves forward."
The city's plans on developing the aging building are dependent on approval of a HUD 108 loan request that was brought up in Council chambers Monday evening. Akron's legislative body took time on a resolution to approve the loan during their meeting.
Sandra Sherman, a Mayflower resident says she does not want to be uprooted from her home, because of the convenient amenities located within minutes of the downtown landmark.
"The bus stops right there in front of my house to pick me up, and it drops me right off in my back yard near the Polsky Building," she says.
Sherman says that by living at the Mayflower, she and others can remain independent.
She doesn't seem to believe that a possible purchase of the Mayflower Manor by the city will do anything to revamp Downtown Akron.
"There is no downtown Akron, there's nothing to shop for down here,all the stores are gone," she explained.
"The only thing you can do down here is go to a bar."
Other residents like Angela Fawn say the Mayflower has social and cultural significance as well as provide housing for the elderly and disabled.
"The Mayflower has a prominent role in the history of Alcoholics Anonymous, and people come from all over the country and parts of the world during Founder's Day to see the historical site," Fawn explained.
"I object to the city seeking the loan because this building is such a big part of the city's history and if it is purchased and redeveloped, that history might not be known."
Marilyn Bobo, the Council President for the Mayflower tenants says she wants her fellow residents to be seen not just as low-income individuals, but citizens with a voice in the say of the building they call home.
"We need justice," Bobo said. "If you show us an inspector's report, and it says the building is in a state of disrepair, then we'll give up the building, but until then, we're going to to stay."
Councilman Fusco says the city has some safety concerns in regards to the building and its viability moving forward.
"I spoke to a tenant who had some problems with the HVAC, so that's one of the issues we're looking at before we make a decision."
City Planning Director Marco Sommerville said that the city is working to make sure the 250 people who currently reside in the Mayflower will get the housing they need so they can remain independent if the plan moves forward.
"We understand that you 're people and we have your best interest at heart," he said.
"The facility hasn't been invested in in quite some time and we will make sure that moving forward the property is invested in so that it can remain useful."