Mayor Horrigan Reflects on His Time as Mayor of Akron
Akron, Ohio, Dec. 13, 2023 — Today, Mayor Horrigan has issued the following data and statement as he reflects on his tenure as Mayor of the City of Akron for the past 8 years. Mayor Horrigan’s second term will come to a close at midnight on December 31.
“As I reach the final weeks of my time as Mayor of the city I love, I can’t help but look back on my experiences and all that we have accomplished together. I take considerable pride in the work my administration has done in a lot of key areas including financial stability, good governance, housing investment, revitalizing public space and green space, reimagining our downtown corridor, increasing equity, and reinvesting in public safety and public infrastructure. Having pride in City work has been instrumental to the projects and programs throughout my tenure. There is no one project that I think of as the highlight of my time as Mayor, but rather, I’m proud of the myriad of issues we have tackled together. There is no victory lap to take but a handing off of the baton as incoming Mayor Malik will take the lead on these and other important initiatives for the betterment of our great city. I have the utmost faith and optimism in the people who call Akron ‘home.’ It is the people who make Akron what it is, and putting our trust in them will always be the right decision for Akron’s future. I will be hard at work for this city until my last day in office and will continue to hold a special place in my heart for Akron for all of my days. I thank all the residents, city employees, and colleagues who have made my time as Mayor the highlight of my professional lifetime. And I thank my family for always supporting me through it all. Thank you, Akron for the honor of serving you.”
Highlights of Mayor Horrigan’s tenure include:
- Since Mayor Horrigan took office, there have been 1,500 new residential units built or currently under construction.
- Akron’s residential tax abatement program has spurred significant growth and encouraged developers to choose Akron over competing suburbs.
- Under Mayor Horrigan’s leadership, the Office of Integrated Development launched the Planning to Grow Akron and Planning to Grow Akron 2.0 reports which lay out a plan for Akron’s continued housing growth including private and public investment in working-class neighborhoods.
- He has supported both affordable and market rate housing growth throughout the city and that growth has improved the overall housing stock and value in Akron.
- He launched the Akron Home Repair program to help address Akron’s aging housing stock. So far, over $4M has been spent on that program with 250 separate repairs already completed and hundreds more in the pipeline.
- Under Mayor Horrigan’s leadership, Akron’s service crews have paved over 400 miles of roadway across the city which evens out to about 50 miles of repaved roads per year during his tenure. Prior to his arrival, Akron was paving about 15 miles of road per year.
- Mayor Horrigan and his administration have been responsible for the complete overhaul of the city’s combined sewer overflow system. To date, 24 of 26 total projects have been completed, and the 25th is in progress with the Northside Interceptor Tunnel. Once that tunnel is complete, Akron will be capturing 99% of wet weather flow. That means capturing and treating more than 2.3 billion gallons of water which previously went untreated back into Akron’s waterways.
- During Mayor Horrigan’s tenure, the city has removed 2,082 lead lines with another 500 under contract for removal. Once those are removed, Akron will only have 1,719 lead lines remaining and is on its way to be lead free by 2027 which no other Midwest city of Akron’s size can say.
- Downtown has had a total transformation since Mayor Horrigan took office. The roadway has been completely upgraded and has new sidewalks, new lighting, new bike lanes, and is more pedestrian-friendly. Additionally, many vacant structures downtown have been redone into new residential units during the past 8 years.
Public Safety Investment
- With the passage of Issue 4 in 2017, Mayor Horrigan has been able to invest an average of $5M more each year into Akron Police and Akron Fire.
- Added revenue has meant new fire stations (Fire Station 4, Fire Station 2, and Fire Station 12 which is set to open in Summer 2024).
- Due to Mayor Horrigan’s efforts, Akron has been able to purchase 6 new fire engines (2, 4, 5, 7, 12, & 14), 3 new ladders (4, 7, & 8), and 10 new med units (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, & 14).
- New police equipment has been purchased including a new fleet of police vehicles to replace aging stock, tasers, uniforms, SWAT vehicles, and beyond.
- Mayor Horrigan has had the honor of swearing in 238 new Akron police officers during his tenure and 179 firefighter/medics.
- Under Mayor Horrigan’s leadership, the city has become an academy partner of Akron Public Schools sponsoring the City of Akron Academy of Health and Human Safety which prepares students for careers in law enforcement.
- Mayor Horrigan presented the non-discrimination ordinance to Akron City Council in 2017 which now prohibits discrimination based on age, sex, gender identity, race, religion or background, creating a city where everyone can thrive.
- The non-discrimination ordinance also created the Akron Civil Rights Commission to investigate complaints of discrimination.
- Mayor Horrigan created the Full Term First Birthday initiative in 2017 to reduce infant mortality and the racial disparity in infant mortality through education and resources and to make sure all Summit County babies make it to their first birthday.
- In 2017, Akron declared itself a Welcoming City in order to state unequivocally that Akron supports all peoples including immigrants and refugees in our city.
- In 2020, Mayor Horrigan worked with City Council to declare racism as a public health crisis and create the Racial Equity and Social Justice Taskforce.
- In July 2021, Mayor Horrigan added gender affirming surgery to the City’s benefit plan which was in addition to the hormonal therapy benefits the city already offered.
- For the first time in the history of the city, the Mayor’s office and Akron Police Department included LGBTQ+ liaisons in their respective offices.
- In 2022, Mayor Horrigan introduced legislation to Akron City Council to ban conversion therapy for minors in the city. City Council passed this unanimously making Akron the 11th Ohio city to pass such a measure.
- He hired the city’s first Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the first Contract Compliance and Supplier Diversity Officer, and the first Youth and Community Opportunity Director.
- Since Mayor Horrigan took office, the city’s municipal equality index score has greatly improved. This index is the only nationwide rating system of LGBTQ+ inclusion in municipal law and policy. Before taking office, Akron only scored 73 out of a possible 100 points on the Human Rights Campaign’s index. The year Mayor Horrigan took office, the score improved to 82, and for 6 of the past 7 years, Akron has earned a perfect score of 100.
- Mayor Horrigan convened the Reconnecting our Community Innerbelt advisory group, to determine the most equitable steps forward for redeveloping the Innerbelt which previously destroyed a thriving Black neighborhood.
- Mayor Horrigan spearheaded the effort to get Issue 4 passed in 2017 which has provided millions of dollars of investment into Akron’s roads, Police, and Fire.
- During his tenure, the city implemented Workday, a cloud-based Finance and Human Resource software package, which has revolutionized and streamlined the financial and human resource functions at the city.
- He has increased the General Fund Cash Balance from $5 million at the end of 2015 to over $25 million at the beginning of 2023.
- Mayor Horrigan strategically utilized the Community Learning Center funds to finish the last of the construction projects in conjunction with Akron Public Schools.
- He has negotiated three amendments to the city’s federal consent decree saving Akron ratepayers a total of $215M so far with a possible $200M in additional savings with the proposed fourth amendment.
Public Spaces and Green Space
- Since 2018, Mayor Horrigan has partnered with the Akron Parks Collaborative to invest city funds into local parks via the Akron Parks Challenge. The Challenge allows neighborhood residents to submit their ideas for their local park for a chance to win a grant to revitalize their public space. Since 2018, the city has given $2.1M towards revitalizing 15 parks.
- He launched Akron Parks Week in 2019 with Keep Akron Beautiful and Akron Parks Collaborative and so far, that has led to 14 additional parks being spruced up and revitalized for their respective neighborhoods.
- Mayor Horrigan has heavily invested in the Summit Lake neighborhood and the revitalization happening there in collaboration with the neighbors, Knight Foundation, Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition, and private investors.
- Mayor Horrigan approved a new Ed Davis community center utilizing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The upgraded building broke ground in February of 2023 and upgrades include a new gym, indoor walking track, teen room and upgraded exterior. This is an $11.5M investment.
- Additionally, he has led the effort for the Patterson Park community center rebuild. This $7.8M investment includes new courts, a new outdoor playground, and a significant size upgrade from 8300 sq ft to 12400 sq ft.
- Perkins Pool has been completely redone and is a real gem in the community now with new lockers, a climbing wall, a new slide, shallow water playspace, and more.
- Lock 3 is in the process of becoming a true year-round park and destination for our downtown Akron corridor due to Mayor Horrigan’s vision and investment.
- Mayor Horrigan, with a coalition of partners including Akron Children’s Hospital, Cleveland Clinic Akron General and Akron Energy Systems, led the $25.4M reinvestment of the City’s district energy system. This collaborative community effort is one of the greatest sustainability success stories in Akron’s history. The results have been nothing short of transformational for Akron:
- Modernization of entire utility system to high efficiency, low carbon platform
- 97% reduction in air emissions
- 46% efficiency improvement
- 31% Reduction in Akron’s Carbon Footprint
- 140,000 metric tons of carbon removal per year
- Equivalent carbon absorption rate greater than 2.5 times the Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- 40 million gallons of water recycling per year
- Equivalent to 1.5 days of City water system supply
- Economically and Operationally Successful
- Saving $8 M per year
- Paying for investment through revenues of new customers
- 29 skilled trade and professional jobs retained; 21 new jobs created
- 99.999% reliability of operations
- Leading development of renewable energy and energy efficiency strategies at all City-owned properties.
- Key infrastructure component that has lowered cost of redeveloping downtown into a residential neighborhood
- During Mayor Horrigan’s tenure, Akron has planted close to 9,000 street trees throughout the city and an additional 21,533 trees in Akron’s watershed.
- The city released the tree canopy report in 2021. The annual benefits Akron received from its tree cover are estimated to be approximately $27.3 million. The tree canopy in Akron removes an estimated 1.2 million pounds of pollutants and 70,113 tons of carbon from the air while slowing more than 255 million gallons of stormwater from entering combined and storm sewer drains.
- Recently, Mayor Horrigan partnered with OI and CAP glass to recycle and transport glass recyclables and create new glass bottles and jars. The city now offers 5 glass recycling drop off bins throughout Akron.
- In June 2023, Mayor Horrigan launched an EV task force. The task force found the need for EV charging stations in the city and they developed a plan for Akron to keep up with that demand.
- The city recently received $1M in funding from the US Dept. of Agriculture for Project ACORN (Akron Community-Owned Reforestation Network.) Project ACORN will develop an Urban Forestry workforce training pipeline in five disadvantaged neighborhoods experiencing the highest tree canopy loss in Akron with a goal of increasing the tree canopy from 34.5% to 40% by 2040.
- In 2018, Mayor Horrigan launched the Great Streets initiative to improve community engagement, transportation, urban design, public space, and promote safer neighborhoods in 13 of Akron’s business districts. To date, the Great Streets program has awarded over $2.6M in grants to over 125 businesses.
- On Kenmore Blvd. alone, 16 new businesses have opened since 2020.
- In 2018, Mayor Horrigan and partners launched the Elevate Akron Plan, followed up in 2021 with the Elevate Akron 2.0 Plan. These plans aim to boost Akron’s economy with special focus on creating opportunities for Black business owners, increasing business retention and expansion efforts, revitalizing downtown, and more.
- Mayor Horrigan played an integral part in establishing Stark State College in Akron to provide affordable, quality education to residents in the city and throughout Summit County. The College recently named a scholarship in his honor.
- In his first term, Mayor Horrigan helped launch the Bounce Innovation Hub as the region’s first entrepreneur focused hub. It has since grown into its own non-profit that houses more than 50 businesses and has helped launch dozens of others.
- Mayor Horrigan was instrumental in bringing the Amazon Fulfillment Center to the site of the former Rolling Acres Mall. The center was originally expected to employ 1,500 people and it has instead provided 5,000 new jobs to Akron.
- Additionally, Mayor Horrigan was vital to LTA Research’s decision to set up a base of operations in Akron’s Air Dock which makes the future of airships intricately linked with the City of Akron.
- In 2020, Mayor Horrigan instituted a DORA in downtown Akron to encourage more downtown patronage. The DORA was expanded in 2022 to cover 145 acres and 40 businesses in the downtown area.
- Mayor Horrigan has supported and led efforts aimed at helping minority-owned businesses to thrive. The city helped fund MORTAR at Bounce which is a 15-week small biz accelerator program for entrepreneurs with a specific focus on minority-owned companies.
- In the aftermath of the pandemic, Mayor Horrigan approved $10,000 loans to small businesses throughout Akron to help mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on local business.
Mayor Horrigan Bio
Daniel Horrigan was sworn in as the 62nd Mayor of Akron on January 1, 2016 and was elected for a second term which began in 2020. In October of 2022, Mayor Horrigan announced he would not run for re-election after his second term. Since 1999, he has been a dedicated public servant to Summit County and the City of Akron. His family legacy, deeply rooted in Akron’s North Hill, and his experience as a public servant fuel Mayor Horrigan’s unwavering commitment to move his hometown forward.
After earning a BA in Economics from Kent State University, Mayor Horrigan earned an education degree from the University of Akron. While obtaining his second degree, he earned a living as a “curb boy” at the iconic Swenson’s restaurant. Recognizing an opportunity to give back to the North Hill community, he campaigned for and won election to Akron City Council’s Ward 1 in 1999, a position he held for nearly 8 years. Being a Councilman allowed him to first understand and harness the importance of listening and collaboration. In 2007, he became the Summit County Clerk of Courts, a job that made him responsible for collecting and distributing $120 million public dollars each year.
As Akron’s Mayor, he developed a creative vision to move the city forward. Mayor Horrigan has been keenly-focused on key areas of opportunity, including jobs and economic inclusion, improving infrastructure, investing in safety equipment and programming, uplifting neighborhoods, investing in public spaces, and more.
As Akron continues to evolve from its roots as an industrial powerhouse, to a highly-creative and innovative center of excellence, Mayor Horrigan believes our greatest asset has remained constant, it’s our people. He believes this resource has fueled us in the past and will again prove to be the catalyst for future growth and success.
Contact: City of Akron Press Office
Press@akronohio.gov or 330-375-2345