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Akron's Revitalization Fund Gets Noticed, Big Year at the Zoo, and UA's Biomimicry

Crain's Cleveland Business

The Council of Development Finance Agencies has awarded a 2017 CDFA Excellence in Development Finance Award to the Development Finance Authority of Summit County and Development Fund of the Western Reserve (DFWR) for their work in creating the Akron Community Revitalization Loan Fund, the CDFA said in a release. The revolving loan fund, which was fully capitalized in July, provides financing for business development projects in distressed and urban areas of Akron, those places with a poverty rate of at least 30% and an unemployment rate of at least 10%, the DFWR told Crain's in July. 
Akron's revitalization fund started with about $6.75 million to loan out mostly to smaller projects, with loans of between $500,000 and $2 million at a seven-year interest rate of 2.4%, the release said.  The fund started when the DFWR dedicated $6.75 million in Federal New Markets Tax Credit allocations, or the equivalent of $2.25 million, to capitalize it. Then the DFWR and its partners raised just under $3.6 million in local grants and investments to leverage the equity from the tax credits.
Big Year at the Akron Zoo
2017 was another record year for the Akron Zoo, which welcomed an all-time high of 416,942 guests throughout the year.  That eclipses the previous high mark of 398,878 set in 2016.
The zoo also set a single-day attendance record on Oct. 21, when 8,196 people visited during the park's popular Boo at the Zoo event. That was up from 7,550 on a single October day in 2016. Plus the park's Wild Lights holiday event brought in 26,151 patrons, an increase of nearly 10,000 visitors from 2016.
In Unique Company
The field of biomimicry just got another expert. The University of Akron's biomimicry doctorate fellowship program in December graduated Daphne Fecheyr Lippens, whom the university says is only the third person with doctorate-level biomimicry training. 
What is biomimicry? It's looking to nature to help find solutions to our problems, especially in engineering, design and innovation. For example, creators of the Shinkansen bullet train in Japan were inspired by the kingfisher bird's long, slender beak, which helps make the bird extremely streamlined, to redesign the train's front to make the locomotive travel more quietly.

And UA — through a collaboration with Great Lakes Biomimicry and the university's Bioscience program — says it has the only biomimicry doctoral program in the world, and the latest grad was part of the inaugural class who started in 2012. Fellows Bill Hsiung and Emily Kennedy graduated in May. 

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