By David E. Dix
With the tip of the pandemic in sight, Downtown Kent is raring for revival. It’s arriving with modifications, most of them optimistic, that may maintain the Tree Metropolis realizing its potential as an attention-grabbing faculty city.
The Kent State Lodge and Convention Middle, with the KSU Basis taking full possession, will acquire a brand new working supervisor, the Portland, Maine-based Olympia Lodge Administration (OHM).
OHM was chosen to handle the ability due to its, “spectacular monitor document with unbiased, campus-based accommodations. ”Its portfolio of award-winning campus properties consists of The Lodge at Oberlin, The Inn at Swarthmore and The Alfrond Inn at Rollins Faculty.
Lawrence Carter, asset supervisor for the KSU facility, mentioned OHM is conserving the present employees in place and most of its modifications up to now contain inner methods. Carter introduced Ritz-Carlton expertise with him when he joined Kent State and he mentioned the chef at The Lodge in Oberlin can be a Ritz-Carlton veteran. The chef has visited the Kent State Lodge & Convention Middle to share recipes and expertise.
Kent Metropolis Supervisor Dave Ruller introduced the Lodge and Convention Middle modifications in a “State of the Metropolis” deal with at Kent Rotary Membership in February. His deal with talked about many neighborhoods in Kent, however targeted on the downtown as a result of, Ruller mentioned, its persevering with revival helps Kent State recruit college students and college and makes Kent a vacation spot in Northeast Ohio that brings in income that funds enhancements all through the group.
Town supervisor talked about the collaborative planning and design work for East Major Road. It has netted Kent a $14 million grant for some scheduled $18 million enhancements. Building will happen from Willow Road to Horning Highway and have an expanded heart boulevard with fewer left turns, wider sidewalks, landscaping, and even two roundabouts: one on the Willow-Major-Haymaker intersection and one other at Horning Highway. These will remove the necessity for site visitors lights and clean site visitors circulation.
The improved East Major Road will showcase the brand new Faculty of Enterprise, as soon as it’s constructed, and showcase a reworked Faculty of Training at White Corridor. Summit Road enhancements have lower damage accidents by 68 % and it’s believed the accident fee on East Major Road can even drop.
Ruller pointed to the brand new Kent Metropolis Corridor, the drawings of that are almost full. It would substitute the outdated police station, which shall be demolished. The Kent Metropolis Well being Division will transfer to conveniently located places of work within the PARTA Central Gateway on East Erie Road throughout from the Lodge and Convention Middle. (PARTA Central Gateway stays essential to downtown’s success.) Including to downtown’s revival would be the good-looking five-story, mixed-use constructing that Tulip LLC is developing on the nook of Franklin Avenue and East Erie Road.
A serious improve in Kent’s portion of the Portage Hike and Bike path will happen at its juncture with the historic Major Road Bridge. Wider trails, a a lot better approach to entry the bridge, new lookouts and night time lighting, will carry cyclists extra simply into the downtown the place they’ll pattern the group’s fare.
The enhancements within the West River Neighborhood embody the Aqua Onus bottling firm within the fantastically reworked LN Gross constructing. It has added one other shift to bottle Kent’s spring water that years in the past gained a nationwide competitors. Close by to the south would be the bell tower transforming and conversion of the historic First Congregational Church on Gouger Avenue right into a brew pub.
Elsewhere, the recognition of the brand new North Water Brewing Firm on the finish of Crain, Lake, and North Water Road heralds that neighborhood’s evolving into an arts and boutique service lane known as “The Mill District.” The prospect of a totally reworked former Star of the Mill complicated, one other Tulip LLC enterprise, could have impressed “The Mill District” title.
The proverbial “Elephant within the Room” in Ruller’s deal with was the assertion that the Burbick Basis properties are in transition. These embody the Franklin Lodge, the East Major Road and Acorn Alley properties, the constructing that homes Laziza and Mettis Building, and Treno, the restaurant that occupied the historic railroad station constructing owned by the Kent Historic Society. The late Ron Burbick’s determination, starting in 2003, to begin shopping for properties and use his tens of millions to transform and construct anew was the catalyst that set off Kent’s downtown rejuvenation.
Ron is gone. His unimaginable assistant, Michelle Hartman, who labored so successfully alongside him for 12 years, is not with the Burbick Basis. Adjustments usually are not but labored out, I used to be instructed. The hope is somebody, whose take care of the group equals that of Ron and Michelle, assumes management.
Downtown Kent superior quickly the previous couple of years and the beat goes on. Wonderful universities like Yale have institutionalized management over actual property to maintain their adjoining downtowns flourishing. A merger of the Kent State and Burbick Foundations? An possibility to think about, Kent State. Might Downtown Kent’s enhancements proceed!
David Dix is a former writer of the Document-Courier.