Akron Rubber Bowl set for emergency demolition

AKRON, Ohio- Work is underway to prepare the iconic Rubber Bowl for emergency demolition, set to begin next week. The City of Akron said the dilapidated football stadium poses a safety threat.

Now a far cry from its glory days, the stadium was condemned last year due to safety hazards and is littered with debris and plagued by vandalism. Built in 1940, the Rubber Bowl served as the home field of the Akron Zips football team until 2008, when the university sold it to a private owner.

Plans to turn it into a year-round entertainment venue never came to fruition, and the decaying facility was foreclosed on last year. The city then took it over.

"It's sad," noted Akron alum Craig Orcutt, in town for a reunion with teammates he played flag football with at the Rubber Bowl in college. "It's a bit of history, and I guess in one aspect it would've been nice to preserve something like this."

The partial demolition comes with a $200,000 price tag, and will take down what city officials call the "most dangerous" section of the stadium. That includes the scoreboard, ticket gate and seating area nearest to neighboring Derby Downs, home of the Soap Box Derby.

"There's people climbing inside, kids running around inside the stadium throwing rocks at our racers, throwing rocks at our property, so that's going to really help us on the safety side," noted Mark Gerberich, president and CEO of the Soap Box Derby.

Akron officials said there have been issues with people trespassing on the property. They said that is unsafe, and any trespassers will be prosecuted.

According to city officials, the project is expected to be complete by October.