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Barberton was once a proud city filled with manufacturing, respect, and strong, blue-collared neighborhoods. In fact, Barberton was a small town that had numerous distinctive communities within its boundaries. The identity of Barberton differed from Johnson’s Corners to the East Side. Oakdale was different from Santrock and U.L. Light was Different than Portage. Today, Barberton has no such identity. Below is a comparison of the Barberton community to the same communities used in the school comparison:
Median Household Income Poverty Rate Violent Crime Rate
Barberton $40,592 18.1 3.61
Norton $65,321 5.9 0.92
Cuyahoga Falls $52,936 10.4 1.16
Stow $68,008 5.6 0.75
Wadsworth $65,917 7.1 1.09
Green $70,706 10.2 1.05
Canal Fulton $52,708 7.3 0.73
Hudson $128,324 2.6 0.04
Akron $36,223 24.1 8.66
So why is Barberton so far behind? How did Hudson grow from a small farming community of just over 5,000 people in 1990 to a highly successful, wealthy and low crime community? While in the same time frame, Barberton disintegrated into a high unemployment, high crime community with little job market and failing schools? If the goal is to be slightly better than Akron, then Barberton has accomplished that. I think we can do much better. Does leadership feel the same?