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500 People Ate Dinner on a Freeway in Akron This Weekend

8:29 AM PDT on October 6, 2015

"500 Plates" brought together people from all over Akron to have a meal together on the to-be-closed "Innerbelt Freeway." Photo: Jason Segedy
"500 Plates" brought together people from all over Akron to have a meal together on the Innerbelt Freeway, which is not long for this world. Photo: Jason Segedy

How's this for a creative reuse of outdated 20th century infrastructure? This weekend, 500 people in Akron, Ohio, sat down and had dinner together on the Innerbelt Freeway.

The event, dubbed "500 Plates," brought together people from all over the city to talk about the future of the Innerbelt. The city is planning to decommission the lightly-used 1970s-era highway and redevelop the land -- but exactly how is still under discussion.

Photo: Jason Segedy
Photo: Jason Segedy
Photo: Jason Segedy
Photo: Jason Segedy

Here are some of the ideas being floated:

I'd love to see the Ohio-Erie Canal daylighted where it is piped under the freeway. #500Plates #Akroninnerbelt

— Per Johnson (@percjohnson) October 4, 2015

Hearing some great ideas around a biking grid. #akroninnerbelt #500plates — Tina Ughrin (@tughrin) October 4, 2015

The plates all had a recipe from a different Akronite on them. Everyone who came was invited to take home a plate with someone else's recipe printed on it.

Next up, the organizers plan hold neighborhood-level discussions about the future of the Innerbelt.

This is awesome!

— Quin A. (@RealtorQuin) October 4, 2015

The project was envisioned by San Francisco artist Hunter Franks, with support from the Knight Foundation.

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