Thursday, 04 January 2024 11:09

City of Akron Gears Up For Bicentennial With New Plans, New Organization Featured

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As the City of Akron continues to gear up for its big Bicentennial celebration in 2025; the the organization actually handling the event has changed.

Now, instead of being run by the Akron Bicentennial Commission; a new not-for-profit corporation called "Akron 200 Inc.", has been formed to run what will be a year-long celebration in 2025. In addition, Mark Geer, who has been on the Commission since 2022, has been named the new organization's Executive Director.

Mayor Shammas Malik talked about it with WAKR Morning Show Host, Ray Horner, this morning:


According to a Press Release from the Downtown Akron Partnership, Greer has served on the Commission since its formation in June 2022 along with 27 other community representatives.

Greer is from Akron, and is the founder of Ulysses McNeal Consulting Company. He served as Small Business Program Manager and Administrator of the Great Streets Initiative for the City of Akron for four years and oversaw the award of over $3 million in grants.

A graduate of Firestone High School, he earned the B.M. magna cum laude in Music Performance from Bowling Green State University and holds a masters degree from Kent State University. Greer also serves as an assistant pastor at The Family Church, a non-denominational ministry in Akron’s University Park Neighborhood, and previously taught on the faculties of Malone University and the University of Mount Union.

Several projects are currently in-progress for the Bicentennial, including:

  • The Akron History Center, an enduring free museum-quality exhibit about the 200-year history of Akron, is being constructed at 172 South Main Street in downtown Akron. $1.8 million has been committed to the project by government, local foundations, corporations and individuals. Design work was completed this summer, and fabrication of exhibits is underway with installation scheduled for January, and the opening targeted for Spring, 2024.
  • A new anthology of Akron history is being published by the University of Akron Press. Dr. Jon Miller, Professor of English and Director of the Press is co-editor of the book that will be released in time for the 2025 anniversary.
    An outdoor drama, directed by Katie Beck, Co-Artistic Director of Gum-Dip Theatre and a member of the Commission, is planned for Waters Park on North Hill during the Bicentennial.
  • A group of Akron Public School teachers is being assembled to develop digital materials for the teaching of Akron history to students in grades three through eleven.

The Akron Bicentennial Commission includes 28 representatives from neighborhoods, special interest groups and every ward in the city. The Commission has established a process to receive applications from community organizations (schools, houses of worship, neighborhood groups, associations) to create programming that will ensure that the year-long commemoration is inclusive and reflective of Akron, and open and accessible to the public.

Workgroups are being established to create opportunities for hundreds of citizens to participate in Bicentennial activities.


Akron’s 200th year begins December 6, 2024. General Simon Perkins filed the plat of Akron at the courthouse in Ravenna on December 6, 1825. In line with prior commemorations of city anniversaries in 1925, 1975, and 2000 the Akron Bicentennial Celebration will take place in July 2025.

  • December 5, 2024 - Akron Roundtable presentation by Dave Lieberth.
  • April 22, 2025 - Tuesday Musical Association premiere of an orchestral fanfare for the Bicentennial celebration, to be debuted at a concert at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall.
  • July 3- 6, 2025 - The Akron Bicentennial Celebration, Tuesday through Sunday. Downtown Festival at the Civic Gateway- Lock 3, Lock 4, Main Street
  • July 5 Bicentennial Parade
  • TBD – The Soul of Philanthropy Exhibit sponsored by Akron Community Foundation’s Black Giving Collective
    Other historical commemorations occurring during the Bicentennial year include the Centennial of the Goodyear Blimp; John Brown’s 225th birthday on May 9; the 90th anniversary of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous on May 11; and the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company in August.


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