City of Akron to Demolish Former Word Church Building

Akron, Ohio, Feb. 26, 2024  — Today, Akron Mayor Shammas Malik is bringing legislation to Akron City Council to fund the emergency demolition of the former Word Church Building located at 2324 Manchester Road.

“There is a serious public safety concern regarding the multiple buildings that make up the former Word Church site,” said Mayor Malik. “We’ve seen frequent and increasing break-ins at the site and the condition of the buildings continues to deteriorate. Our Akron Fire officials have concern that if a fire were to break out in one of the buildings, it may not be safe for them to even enter. We cannot put off this demolition. For the safety of our residents, we need to get these buildings taken down.”

The city is bringing legislation to Akron City Council for their approval to enter into a contract for demolition with a goal of having the demolition start by the end of March.

“For years, residents and nearby businesses owners have shared their concerns regarding this site. It has become increasingly dangerous: not just for those who enter it but also for the community surrounding it,” said Ward 9 Councilmember Tina Boyes. “The site has been unsecured for some time, and we frequently see that the boards have been taken down and the buildings are completely open.  The safety of the people in and around the area is my number one concern, and for that reason I am supporting this emergency demolition.”

Councilwoman Boyes will have her monthly ward meeting on Tuesday, March 5 from 6:30-7:30pm at the Kenmore Community Center (880 Kenmore Blvd.). Mayor Malik and other city officials will be in attendance to discuss the demolition plans.

The city will partner with the Summit County Continuum of Care to help with engagement with our unhoused population in the area.  There will be in-person engagement with those residents to inform them of the upcoming demolition and make them aware of their options for shelter. Akron Police and Akron Fire will also do a full search of the property and secure the building and grounds in the week before the demolition begins.

“We know there are many blighted structures across our community, as evidenced by the recent fire off N. Howard Street,” continued Mayor Malik. “These conditions are unacceptable in any of our neighborhoods. The Word Church site moved to the top of the list due to its rapid deterioration and public safety concerns, but we are triaging our approach to all these buildings and will have more to share with the community in the months and years to come.”

The city intends to aggressively pursue repayment for the emergency demolition from the current owners of the building as well as seeking state demolition funding through the Ohio Department of Development.

Stephanie Marsh, Director of Communications or 330-256-1191

Photo Credit: Toby Hicks