Preservation Alliance of Greater Akron (PAGA) actively encourages and promotes the preservation, maintenance, restoration, and adaptive reuse of buildings, sites and neighborhoods that are of historic or architectural importance in Akron and Summit County.
Preservation Alliance of Greater Akron (PAGA) was organized formally in July 1984 as Progress Through Preservation (PTP) in direct response to the ongoing urban renewal policies continuing to change the faces of cities across the country, as well as in Akron. Its mission remains to serve Akron and Summit County by actively encouraging and promoting the preservation, maintenance, restoration, and adaptive reuse of buildings, sites, and neighborhoods that are of historic or architectural importance.
Founding members included Michael Adams, Libby Bryant, Harriet Calcagno, Judy Grans, Don Harvey, John Mazzola, Susan McKiernan, Anita and David Meeker, Helen Moss, David Patterson, Mary Porterfield, Debbie Prinz, Tim Prinz, Elizabeth Sandwick, Judith Shoaff, Rex E. Sager, Richard Slanczka, Ramona and F. Eugene Smith, Barbara Snyder, Elsie Snyder, and Diane Wolfson.
The First Annual House Tour featured the Simon Perkins Mansion and restored homes in the Highland Square area of West Akron. In the same year a walking tour along North Portage Path concluded with Irene Seiberling Harrison reminiscing in the old "chicken house" of her family's Stan Hywet estate. In 1986 a ”Stamp Out the Wrecking Ball" symbol designed by F. Eugene Smith was incorporated in the PTP logo as members protested the demolition of the 1906 Park-view Apartments listed in the Akron Historic Landmark Survey.
Since that time PAGA, a volunteer-led organization that now includes more than 250 members, has moved on to initiate or support a variety of historic preservation efforts in Akron and Summit County. In the process, PAGA has worked in cooperation with the City of Akron, Akron Public Schools (APS), the University of Akron, Keep Akron Beautiful, the Akron Area Arts Alliance as well as local, state, and regional community and historic preservation organizations including Cascade Locks Park Association, Summit County Historical Society, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland Restoration Society and its Preservation Resource Center of Northeastern Ohio, Heritage Ohio, the Ohio Historical Society, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) through its Midwest Office in Chicago.
Projects have included sponsoring town meetings, preservation workshops, tours of historic homes and public buildings, and a Glendale Memorial Concert Series designed to raise funds for restoring the Civil War Memorial Chapel in Akron's Glendale Cemetery. PAGA has actively supported restoration of the Mustill Store and House at Lock 15 of the Ohio & Erie Canal, passage of the 1997 Akron Historical Preservation Ordinance, and restoration of the historic Akron Civic Theatre on its original site and, in 1998, commissioned an inventory of Canal-era structures in the City of Akron.In 2001, at the invitation of the NTHP, PAGA successfully participated in the Community Organizational Effectiveness Program, a 12-month process through which local historic preservation organizations evaluate their organizational structures and strategic planning processes following internal and external assessments conducted by the National Trust. PAGA has supported the reprinting of an 1880 guidebook on train excursions in the Cuyahoga Valley now being used by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad; the design and publication of an award-winning brochure on historic Glendale Cemetery; and, in collaboration with local residents, the University of Akron, and the City of Akron, gravesite documentation and preservation efforts at historic Middlebury Cemetery in East Akron.
During the past several years, PAGA has actively participated in discussions with the Akron Public Schools, the City of Akron, and neighborhood residents on the future of Akron's historic schools. In January 2006, PAGA released the findings of an architectural feasibility study it had commissioned on the renovation versus replacement of Firestone Park and King elementary schools, both scheduled for demolition under the current APS Facilities Master Plan. In 2007, PAGA dedicated its placement of an historical marker at the Glendale Steps, a Works Progress Administration project completed during the 1930's and linking Walnut Street to a park the City of Akron had planned to create at the base of the steps but which was never built.
PAGA continually works to inform and educate the public on historic preservation issues. Monthly meetings feature visits to a variety of historic preservation and adaptive reuse sites throughout Summit County and beyond and include presentations by guest speakers. The organization publishes a monthly newsletter, provides speakers on various historic preservation topics, co-sponsors with the Summit County Historical Society an ongoing Architectural Heritage Awards program honoring outstanding preservation, restoration, or adaptive reuse projects in Summit County, and for more than 25 years has led an annual clean-up of the Glendale Steps.
In March 2009 PAGA signed a 10-year lease with the City of Akron to manage and restore the 1870 schoolhouse located on the corner of White Pond and West Market Street.