Better Block Project Celebrates Diversity in Akron
Jennifer Conn reports on the forthcoming opening of the new Exchange House in Akron's North Hill neighborhood. The Better Block Foundation completed the project after receiving $155,000 in grant funding from the 2015 Knight Foundation Knight Cities Challenge.
North Hill has a long tradition as an immigrant neighborhood, attracting Italian, Polish, German, and Irish immigrants over the past century and more. In the 21st century, the neighborhood has been a popular destination for Bhutanese refugees from camps in Nepal.
Better Block's idea was to turn a foreclosed, vacant North Hill home into an AirBnB hostel and cultural hub. The Exchange House is designed to tap the entrepreneurial potential of the neighborhood's growing Bhutanese population. The second-floor hostel will generate revenue, which will support programs on the ground floor.
Conn also explains that the project is designed to showcase the benefits of cooperative diversity.