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Northeast Ohio

Akron considering the future of the B.F. Goodrich smokestacks
The city is looking for funds to possibly demolish the tall, brick icons

Kabir Bhatia
The former B.F. Goodrich factories are home to Akron's business incubator, dozens of start-ups and several art studios
Courtesy of JEFF ST. CLAIR
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Two pillars of Akron history could be demolished soon if the city gets funding for the project. WKSU's Kabir Bhatia reports.
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When B.F. Goodrich stopped making tires here in the 1970's, it left behind one of the largest rubber plants in the world, topped by two towering smokestacks. Now, the city says it wants to demolish much of the plant, its boilers and even the brick smokestacks because of structural concerns.

But Dave Lieberth, chair of the Summit County Historical Society, says all of that is not necessary.

“The smokestacks have a separate foundation that is reasonably well-cared-for and intact. The boiler house is having some deterioration that will not allow the city to invest more money in its structure.”

Lieberth says the boilers have been shut down by order of the EPA, but the smokestacks should be preserved since they're a reminder of the city's industrial past.

“Along with Cleveland for steel and Toledo for glass, Akron made rubber products and created synthetic rubber. That actually helped win the war for the Allies in Europe and Asia. A symbol of that remains these smokestacks: the story of the industrial might that Akron wielded at the largest rubber factory in the world, the B.F. Goodrich Company.”

Lieberth says talks are continuing with the city to find a way to preserve the smokestacks. Akron officials have given no timetable for the demolition.
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