AKRON, Ohio--- It’s a solemn tribute to a deceased loved one. Now, one local city is cracking down on roadside memorials.
Starting Monday, Akron City Council is enforcing regulations that will require roadside memorials placed on city property to be removed after 45 days. Once the 45 day limit expires, family members will be asked to remove the items on their own. If they are not removed, city workers will bag the items and store them for up to two weeks. City employees will make an effort to contact family members before the items are thrown out.
City council says the 45-day limit was put in place after neighborhood watch groups started to complain. “What happens is neighbors don't want to say anything. They're afraid if they say something about it, someone will take offense to it,” said City Council President Marco Sommerville.
“People want to mark the spot where people lost their life, but we feel cemeteries are more suited to handle these type of situations,” said Sommerville. “We have memorials that are up year after year everybody is afraid to touch them, we just did a major construction project on Copley Road and the workers were afraid to touch it.”
Akron resident Shaynell Allen lives across the street from a memorial that marks the spot where her friend was shot to death. “I don't feel that its right. We should always be able to keep them up, that shows, he's still around, that's where he passed away at,” said Allen.
Neighbor Vickie Rogers said, “They going to take it down regardless, but it doesn't bother me.”
Another woman said, “These are items that could cause obstruction or be blown into a lane of traffic or what not, or it's a deterrent from a driver who's visually looking at something instead of at the road.”
Residents can report the memorials by calling the 311 city hotline. Callers can remain anonymous.