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Was Chrissie Hynde right

Updated on February 27, 2013

Akron in 1870

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Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders) did a song called My City Was Gone. This song is about the city of Akron, Ohio. I remember when this song came out many in Akron (radio and TV) where offended by. Some said that Akron looks better now than it has in the last 30 years. Old broken down building replaced with bright shinny new glass and brick (as if brick is shinny). But, in many ways she is right.

Akron Today

“I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY CITY WAS GONE
THERE WAS NO TRAIN STATION
THERE WAS NO DOWNTOWN”

Most of what made Akron is going away, or in reality hidden. The not so secret story of Akron is most likely the same in any college town. As businesses are moving out the college (University of Akron) is moving in and taking over. Many of the businesses that Hynde would have known from her childhood are gone and a part of the college.

Central-Hower High School

In downtown Akron is the original High School (Akron High School) later renamed Central in 1911, and renamed Central-Hower High School back in the 1970 (when merged with Hower Vocational School). The original part of the building is from 1886 (with parts of it preserved for posterity). It is no secret that UA wants the building. In 2006 Central-Hower was closed. The school was used to house another student body while their school was rebuilt and later became a STEM high school (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). It was announced that in school board will (try to) sell the building to the university. This will be paid to the city in the form of scholarships negating any monetary gain by the school system. It was clear that the current board is more interested in representing UA not Akron.

“I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY PRETTY COUNTRYSIDE
HAD BEEN PAVED DOWN THE MIDDLE
BY A GOVERNMENT THAT HAD NO PRIDE”

While it could be argued Hynde is speaking of childhood memories, but in many ways she is right. Downtown has no true center anymore. At time Main Street was downtown with what was what most people would say was true Americana. A visual representation of what people think of as a small city. It’s more of a large office park now.

Anyone who lives in the Akron/Canton area can tell you there are many things wrong with the Akron City government. From water/sewer problems, welfare for multimillion dollar companies such as a certain tire company while at the same time attempting to force the elderly, handicap, and poor out of housing (the Mayfower) that could easily be used for students. Now to be fair in an article in the local paper (Akron-Beacon Journal) the final use is left open (no mention of students). What is clear is that in an area that has been “rebuilt” with a new baseball stadium and restaurants there is no place for the poor. This is not the first time this has happened here in Akron.

Am I missing the point or is there something to this?

Is your hometown still the same?

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      Michael Collins 4 years ago from Lakemore, Ohio

      To be fair after reading the notice in the paper and remembering the past actions of the city I may have been a little bitter over this. This is the football stadium all over again. Akron tried to force people to sell their homes though eminent domain (for pennies) to build a new stadium. In the end the landlords and council relatives got rich and the poor got evicted.

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