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Akron’s iconic Rubber Bowl set for emergency demolition

The City of Akron has announced plans to begin the emergency demolition of the Rubber Bowl stadium at the end of next week, claiming that the structure now poses an immediate safety risk to the public and surrounding properties.

Built in 1940, the Rubber Bowl was the home field for the Akron Zips collegiate football team until 2008, but was transferred by the University of Akron into private ownership in 2013. Its new owners have since been the subject of several orders to repair and secure the structure, before it was condemned in 2017 due to imminent safety concerns. In spring 2017, the Summit County Land Bank initiated foreclosure proceedings on the property due to substantial property tax delinquency. It was agreed at that time that the city would accept ownership of the Rubber Bowl and ultimately demolish it.

Due to funding constraints, the city will initially demolish only the most dangerous section of the stadium, which includes the scoreboard and the portion abutting Derby Downs, home of the famous Soap Box Derby. Until funds can be gathered to complete the demolition, the city will leave the section abutting George Washington Boulevard intact, preventing any disruption to the roadway. Crushing of material will not take place on-site, the city has announced.

The partial demolition will be funded by US$100,000 in capital improvement funds through the State of Ohio, US$50,000 in grant funds from the Land Bank and US$50,000 in capital funding from the City of Akron. The work is expected to be completed by the end of October.

“The demolition of the Rubber Bowl represents the end of an era,” Akron mayor Dan Horrigan said. “Like many Akron residents, I have fond memories of attending football games and other events there throughout my life. However, the structure is well beyond repair and now poses a danger to the public. It’s time for us to honor the rich history of the Rubber Bowl while making way for a safer and improved use for the site.” 

June 8, 2018

Written by James Billington


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