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Old 09-15-2014, 10:06 PM
 
26 posts, read 47,199 times
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lol ok I know what some of you are thinking this is a little weird but the two are not often compared but often combined when in my opinion they are different in many ways. I would like to hear some opinions and facts about the two and how they are different, which one has more to offer, quality of life, jobs, safety, neighborhoods etc. I would also like to hear from those who have visited or lived in the heart of these areas not just the suburbs.
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:27 PM
 
Location: Ak-Rowdy, OH
1,522 posts, read 2,647,541 times
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In my opinion, Akron has significantly more going on, particularly in the city proper. Canton missed the boat back in the day when they voted down having a University downtown and that poor choice has impacted them since manufacturing left. Now a huge portion of the economic activity is outside of the city limits, including both Stark State College and Kent Stark's large combined campus in Jackson Township. As such, there is really no particular concentration of college students or graduates so the bright spot that most cities have in funky/artsy/college neighborhoods is almost completely missing there (although they have started to build a small one from scratch on the north side of downtown). Even the hospitals haven't done much to spur nearby development; one is landlocked next to the expressway and the other is sitting in the middle of a southwest section residential neighborhood.

Canton metro and Stark County as a whole I wouldn't even say has doubled down on suburban development - they have tripled down on it. Even compared to Akron or Cleveland it is amazing how entirely suburb focused that area is. So while they do McDevelopments and strip malls very well, there isn't a whole lot beyond that and unfortunately the area has excelled at being "Anywhere" based on that.

Of course they have the Pro Football Hall of Fame - again, conspicuously located at an expressway exit and not downtown - which is a bright spot. Also, Massillon has done fairly well in redeveloping its downtown and generating some activity there. I won't say it is quite as nice as Kent's but compared to most smaller cities in the region their downtown has a good bit of activity. It's unfortunate that Canton hasn't been nearly as successful with their downtown.

Don't get me wrong, from a quality of life perspective there are some great suburbs with very low crime, great suburban school districts, a nice, large regional shopping area (Belden Village), a handful of major employers (i.e. Diebold, Timken), and good access to I-77 and Akron-Canton Regional Airport. But if you have any interest in anything beyond a soccer mom lifestyle I can't think of another reasonably urban area that has so colossally failed at cultivating any other sort of lifestyle options.

Akron has many of the issues above but thanks to a somewhat more successful push towards Downtown and city development (although still significantly small compared to other cities) they are able to offer a large, university centered neighborhood (University Park), a somewhat active downtown, a funky/artsy neighborhood (Highland Square) and a great metroparks system, among many other things.

This probably sounds like a diatribe against the Canton area but from a comparison's perspective (as opposed to being aggregated, as the OP pointed out), I would hands down vote Akron/Summit County as being the superior choice.
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:32 AM
 
Location: Kent, Ohio
174 posts, read 287,236 times
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I have to agree with the previous post. Akron has so much more going for it. The downtown Canton area is just the pitts! However, the surrounding area around Canton (the berbs) is much, much nicer than Akron. North Canton, Louisville, and the township areas on the northwest side of Canton are great places to live! Canton has some of the best privately owned restaurants I've ever eaten in. The Belden Village Mall offers great shopping!
Now I can't argue that Akron is more centrally located with easier access to the northern attractions. The Canton suburbs win hands-down when it comes to quality of life including cost-of-living. So if we are talking about the city itself, Akron wins hands-down. The surrounding area, Canton wins hands-down.
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Old 09-22-2014, 01:06 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
40 posts, read 171,284 times
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I'll chime in and generally agree with what the previous posters have said. I'm a native Akronite currently living elsewhere, but I have pondered moving back to the area several times. Between Akron and Canton, I go back and forth a lot, but would probably at this point settle into the northern Canton/Stark County area--North Canton, Jackson Township, etc., unless of course I could maybe find a good apartment in the Downtown Canton Arts District. :-) (More on that in a bit.) Although it's very suburban with few alternative options available, it's a very stable and affordable part of the Akron-Canton area right now. And you do have plenty of retail/food/entertainment options nearby or within reasonable driving distance. Downtown Akron is roughly a 15-20 minute drive north via I-77, and Cleveland is just under an hour away.

Belden Village as mentioned has really become the go-to retail, restaurant and entertainment hub for Stark County and the southern end of Summit County (e.g. Green, Portage Lakes, etc.) and in some ways is also much like a "third downtown" that has emerged between Canton's and Akron's, with many offices and Stark State/Kent clustered within the general area. So you do have many options to choose from there, as many if not more than you'll find in the Akron-Fairlawn area's Montrose retail district.

I also have a lot of friends who grew up with me on the east side of Akron who have settled southward into the Green/North Canton/Jackson Township area. Many of them wanted to remain in the general Akron-Canton area and found this particular part to be the best for establishing a home and raising their families.

All of this said, I do really like the things I see happening in Downtown Canton, though. The Arts District there is really starting to take off, with new restaurants, a brewery, coffee shops and galleries opening this year, and they are also gradually adding new apartments. Look up the Onesto, a former hotel tower that is being converted into luxury apartments. Such an apartment within a development in a larger city like Cleveland, Pittsburgh or Columbus would likely cost 2x to 3x as much, so in Canton you may be getting more for your money, if you can accept the comparatively smaller amount of social and cultural amenities there.

Also check out First Fridays, the monthly art walk/music/creative festival that the downtown arts district hosts year round on the the first Friday of each month. They run different themes each month and the ArtsInStark group really does a phenomenal job of organizing them.

I really think Canton's Downtown will eventually re-emerge as a thriving community that will attract more and more people and things to do, and also provide a more civic, walkable neighborhood lifestyle option that you won't really find anywhere else right now in Stark County, with the exception of Downtown Massillon.

As far as Akron goes, I like Downtown Akron too, which is thriving right now, but it does have a very collegy feel about it since it is so close to the University of Akron and most people who live there are students. Unfortunately, there aren't very many living options there yet for adult non-students. Highland Square is probably the best place to be if you are looking to settle into the city.

I also like the Merriman Valley, which is a good place for young professionals starting out, and is near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, with trails for running, biking and outdoor recreation in general.

Most other Akron neighborhoods and suburbs are hit and miss. There are places like Stow and Fairlawn that are comparable to North Canton in quality of life, good schools, etc. if suburbia is what you are seeking. Then you have places like Ellet that could really have more going on in their town centers, but don't even have so much as a coffee shop around, and have rolled up their sidewalks by 2:30 in the afternoon. Then you have Kenmore, Barberton and Middlebury (East Akron) that were once thriving mini-downtowns, but have since fallen on hard times and have yet to find their way back up. But maybe these places contrast with the neighborhoods in Canton, which seem to have much weaker identities, and will have an even more difficult time finding their way back.

So I rambled some, but hopefully this gives you some additional ideas about what options you have in the area. Akron-Canton may be lacking in the culturally rich neighborhoods and communities like those you'll find in Cleveland or another larger city, but there are still some good places around to choose from.
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Old 09-22-2014, 03:47 PM
 
26 posts, read 47,199 times
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yes this was all very informative and I do agree with all of your posts. The Ellet neighborhood rolling up their sidewalks around 2:30 is hilarious by the way I agree no excitement around those parts
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Old 10-13-2014, 10:36 AM
 
36 posts, read 23,080 times
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I see very little difference between each cities suburban areas other than Kent(which is a difference maker). That being said I would personally pick Akron due to proximity to two large state Universities, being 25-30 min from Canton and 35-45 min to Cleveland and it own cultural attractions(Zoo, Art Museum, CVNP, Locke 3,etc). All this being said I like Canton, what they are doing with their downtown and it's still close enough to all that I've mentioned that you won't go wrong living there if you have reliable transportation.
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Old 10-18-2014, 05:20 PM
 
26 posts, read 47,199 times
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I have discovered a few differences myself. I like Canton because of the peacefulness and the majority of people here seem friendly whereas to Akron its more of a mixture, a hit n miss sort of thing. I've noticed that Canton seems to be a lazy city tho I think Akron is a little more productive. Seems like more people receive cash benefits and foodstamps than work like its the thing to do there, terrible because lazy people make the economy bad. Despite that, I love that Canton has its own fairgrounds and many events to be such a small city. The crime rate is a HUGE difference Akron has definitely gone downhill as far as crime goes which makes me very sad it used to be such a nice peaceful place.
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Old 10-30-2014, 10:00 AM
 
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I live dead smack between them and we look to doing something in Akron before Canton.
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Old 12-10-2014, 05:14 PM
 
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I now see Akron as nothing more than a huge ghetto. NOTHING like it used to be and not talking race anyone can be ghetto if they behave as such
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Kent, Ohio
174 posts, read 287,236 times
Reputation: 152
Akron a ghetto? Not sure why you say that? Akron has some rough neighborhoods not unlike any other city. The politics in Akron and Canton are terrible. Perhaps the worst petty politics and small town bureaucracy to be found anywhere. Not sure why, but it has always been that way.

I will say this about both cities, they have the finest public housing I've ever seen. There are new 3 bedroom condos with attached garages and apartments in Akron between Vernon Odom Blvd & Euclid Ave that would cost you well over $200K if you had to buy one. There are others scattered around the city also. I am talking "Beautiful". I couldn't afford to buy one, but poor folks can live there for free!

Northern Ohio is an interesting place!
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