Ball Keeps Rolling on Downtown Redevelopment Projects
Kent City Council approved several measures Wednesday to cement the downtown redevelopment work
Work continued on downtown Kent's redevelopment Wednesday night as members of Kent City Council acted on several components critical to the success of the redevelopment efforts.
Council's actions Wednesday were just one part of years and months of work on varying contracts and agreements regarding the downtown redevelopment, including:
- Authorizing the sale of $4 million in notes to finance construction of the upper two levels of parking in the Kent Central Gateway transit center
- Approving the purchase of AMETEK'S property on Lake Street to ensure the company stays in Kent by moving downtown
- Signing off on the lease and construction agreement with PARTA for the transit center
- Amending an agreement with The Pizzuti Companies for construction of the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center
- Accepting ownership of land along Haymaker Parkway from the Ohio Department of Transportation to help connect the downtown with the Kent State campus
- And amending a lease agreement with Fairmount Properties for the mixed-use development in the block bordered by Haymaker Parkway, South DePeyster, Erie and South Water streets.
The action follows presentation of plans for the hotel and conference center to the Kent Planning Commission Tuesday night, the groundbreaking on the Kent Central Gateway transit center held earlier this month, and Monday's announcement that Davey Tree and AMETEK had finally signed leases committing to space downtown.
"They're all, frankly, kind of interconnected," Kent City Manager Dave Ruller said.
The changes to the lease agreement with Fairmount Properties primarily dealt with the 115-space parking deck the city will build within the block to provide parking to the project's two corporate anchor tenants: Davey Resource Group and AMETEK.
The agreement requires Fairmount to pay the city $30,000 annually for 15 years to pay for maintenance — including snow plowing and patching — of the surface lot. The lot will only be available to office workers at Davey and AMETEK Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The 115 spaces will be open to the public on weekends and daily after 6 p.m.
Kent City Engineer Jim Bowling said the city always expected that parking lot would be restricted to use by the office workers during regular business hours.
At the end of Wednesday's meeting, after approving all the issues related to the downtown work, Councilman John Kuhar said he wanted to express a big sigh of relief over having addressed many of the final details.
Construction on many of the projects is expected to start this spring and summer.
"I commend (city staff) for what you’ve done," Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala told city administrators at the meeting. "It was a historic day for the citizens of Kent the other day when we had Ametek and Davey Tree here making their final commitment. I think the residents and the college students and the whole community, in a few years, they’re going to be proud of what we’ve done."