Thursday, February 9

Akron City Council debates renaming Lawton Street Community Center

Mike Williams, former Akron City Council member and the son of Judge James Williams, talks about his late father at Lawton Street Community Center on Friday.

Mike Williams sighed and shook his head as he looked at the plaque inside Lawton Street Community Center on Friday afternoon.

Williams grew up three blocks from the building, now a Ward 4 staple and gathering place for West Akron residents, which at the time was a YMCA. One of his fondest childhood memories was learning to ride his red bicycle down the street after he first took his training wheels off — his father in tow as he tumbled into the bushes.

When he joined Akron City Council as the Ward 4 representative, he worked with the city to purchase the then-vacant building at 1225 Lawton St. and transformed the space into a community center in 1996: a feat he calls the “highlight of my entire political career.”

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