Perkins Woods Pool Party

Sherbondy Hill is a newly branded neighborhood on Akron’s west side, which was previously named Lane-Wooster. Few people who live there know the name of their neighborhood, and even fewer have any idea what or where Sherbondy Hill is.

@PLAY wanted to address Sherbondy Hill’s neighborhood identity issue head on, but we were also researching West Akron at the same time. Sitting on the border between the two neighborhoods was Perkins Woods Pool, a neglected recreation space which had fallen into disrepair. This location was one of several in both neighborhoods that presented a unique opportunity to address prevailing issues plaguing resident’s quality of life.

Sherbondy Hill and West Akron’s residents both longed for more attractive, safe, and fun public spaces for their friends and families. Both neighborhoods liked the idea of splash parks, but not at the expense of public pools. When we asked them about Perkins Woods Pool, most did not even know it existed, and those who did thought it had been closed for years.

The tipping point in our decision making process occurred during a casual conversation with a City of Akron services employee. He said “if you don’t do anything with the pool, no one will.”

Our team power-washed and painted in the walls, installed collaborative murals, and threw a neighborhood pool party with interactive art, games, free food, and live music with Umojah Nation. Local artist, Deuce Dime, was also on hand to sign prints of his mural, Heart of A.KING, which was on display for attendees.

More than 400 residents attended the Perkins Woods Pool Party, including Mayor Dan Horrigan, and the pool’s first ever supervisor. They came to celebrate the transformation of this neighborhood resource, and they left with lasting memories of what Akron can be when people have a fun place to develop new relationships.