Cuyahoga Falls, OH- Historic Akron Suburb with Impressive Valley & Waterfalls

This evaluation includes Downtown Cuyahoga Falls and the historic Westside mostly developed before WW II. The boundaries I choose more or less match this framework but I admit it’s a bit imperfect. I used State for the Western border, the Cuyahoga River for the southern and Easter Border (route 8 is used as the eastern border north of Dwtn), and Silver Lake Ave as the northern border.

In 1812, Kelsey and Wilcox built a dam on the Cuyahoga River at a place where a railroad bridge crossed it in 1876. The town was incorporated in 1836. By the Civil War Cuyahoga Falls had 1,500 residents. It reached 3K in 1900, 10K in 1920, 30K by 1950, and peaked at 50K in 1970. In 1985, a referendum adding Northampton Township to the City, which helped negate a steep population loss in the 1970s. The City actually had modest population increase between 2010-2020 and now hosts 51K souls.

Downtown Cuyahoga Falls has seen a lot of investment centered along Front St and near Cuyahoga Falls. This has brought several new apartment buildings and townhouses, lots of restaurants, bars, and cafe and good cultural amenities. Unfortunately many of the Downtown side streets are auto oriented. Outside of Downtown are mostly medium density single family homes from the early 20th century. The closer one is to Dwtn the better the walkability. The secondary commercial district along State St is very auto oriented. Cuyahoga Falls scores well in my evaluation as it is very diverse but also does well with typically suburban amenities (i.e. quality schools, parks and high levels of safety). I don’t anticipate this happening anytime soon but it would be great to see a lot more urban in-fill Downtown and a conversion of State St into a more pedestrian friendly commercial corridor. Cuyahoga Falls also need better public transit and bike infrastructure.

Click here to view my Cuyahoga Falls Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* ADA and sidewalk infrastructure is best Dwtn and pretty good in the residential areas.
* Convenient access to Dwtn Akron across all modes. A 10 minute drive and 30 min bus and bike ride.
* Good connectivity and street grid.
* Cuyahoga Falls does well across all diversity indicators.
* Decent # and diversity of schools and overall they are well rated.
* A decent # of rentals are available and generally very affordable. Few 1-beds lease btwn $700-$900, 2-beds btwn $800-the low 1KS, 3-beds in the mid 1Ks.
* Better for sale housing diversity. Some 1-bed condos selling btwn 100K-200K, 2-beds sell btwn 125K-300K, 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 125K-325K.
* Good park and recreational amenities including the Metro Parks along the Cuyahoga River, a couple plazas dwtn, several small-medium sized parks spread throughout at the large Recreation Center Dwtn.
* Good tree canopy throughout.
* Good cultural amenities concentrated Dwtn but also some along State Street. Lots of Food & Bev business Dwtn and along State Street. A decent # of breweries, art galleries, live music venues and local museums concentrated Dwtn. Also a cinema in the NW corner of this evaluation area.
* Pretty good retail amenities include a couple supermarkets along State St, several drug stores, plenty of banks, lots of boutiques/gift shops/creative stores Dwtn, a dwtn public library & post office, and a good # dessert joints, gyms, salons, churches spread throughout the neighborhood.
* Generally a very safe community.
* Nice historic homes and good # of historic Dwtn bldgs still intact.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Public transit is fair to mediocre in Cuyahoga Falls.
* Bike infrastructure is very limited here.
* Pretty good urban form along several blocks of Front Street Dwtn, but this becomes auto centric pretty quickly especially along other Dwtn Streets. State Street is very auto oriented although still has sidewalks
* Some urban in-fill dwtn. Form is generally good but often tacky design. State street has a lot of auto centric crud.
* Pretty low density for an urban area.

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