The Kent residents working to relocate the historic Kent Wells-Sherman House and save it from demolition cleared one of many obstacles to the effort Wednesday.
Kent City Council voted to spend $15,000 of city money to help relocate the house to a piece of land on North Water Street the Friends of the Kent Wells-Sherman House have identified as the best viable option for the structure.
The vote, in committee, came after a 90 minute discussion about the proposal and whether the city has the time and resources to help with the effort.
Council voted 6-2 in favor of loaning $15,000 to the group, which indicated it would only accept the money if it can raise another $15,000 to match the effort.
Rick Hawksley, a Kent architect coordinating the relocation of the house, said they already have $6,000 pledged towards that matching $15,000.
"Our intention is not to come back to the city council for anything after tonight," Hawksley said Wednesday.
With council's cash support, Kent State University — which needs to move the house to build its Esplanade extension — has pledged providing up to $40,000 towards moving the house.
Getting cash support from the city is just one of several concerns about the move. The relocation project also needs variances from the Kent Board of Zoning Appeals to use the site on North Water Street and the overall site plan needs approval from the Kent Planning Commission. Both planning boards will vote on the issue later this month on June 18 and 19 respectively.
Another potential problem for the relocation is the fact the house may have to be moved before the zoning and planning boards take their votes given the tight time frame for construction of the Esplanade extension.
Despite the tight timing, Hawksley said they would move the house to the North Water Street site if necessary even before the planning and zoning boards take their votes.
Hawksley said he's confident both boards will support the plan.
An estimated break down of costs associated with the relocation and restoration is attached to this article along with the proposed site plan. To read more about its proposed use, read this previous Kent Patch story.
Kent architect Doug Fuller, who is involved in desiging the Acorn Alley projects, spoke in favor of the project at Wednesday's meeting.
Fuller said all the new construction in downtown Kent is important but no more so than preserving the city's important existing structures.
"This house happens to be just an extraordinary example of not only architecture but of the history of the city of Kent," Fuller said. "For any one of those two reasons alone the building deserves to be saved."