Akron to offer free parking to pump up downtown

Cleveland can't make same deal

AKRON, Ohio -  A major city in northeast Ohio is about to begin a free parking offer in hopes of boosting downtown business.

Starting Tuesday, the first hour will be free for people using Akron's city-owned parking garages.

Mayor Don Plusquellic says in a statement that the program will encourage visitors to spend more time downtown and will support the growth of retail business there.

Officials in Akron's larger neighbor, Cleveland, say they're not able to give the same deal. A spokeswoman for Mayor Frank Jackson said that the city needs all the revenue from its parking garages to pay off bonds used to build those facilities.

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