A 100-acre glacial lake known in the 1900s as Akron’s million-dollar playground sits just a two-mile jog south of the city’s downtown. Thousands of Ohioans once spent summer days riding the park’s roller coaster and swimming in the lake. But after the area’s booming rubber industry contaminated Summit Lake, the nearby neighborhood fell into decades of decay and isolation.

In 2016, a series of meetings with community members led to inexpensive improvements around the lake....


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