It may be highly unlikely, but a Kent City Council member has suggested leaving the Kent Wells-Sherman House on what is most likely a temporary location for the historic structure.
At-large Councilman Roger Sidoti suggested at the end of council's Wednesday meeting that the temporary location at the western end of East College Avenue might prove the best option for the house.
"I would just like to throw that out as something to think about," Sidoti said. "If it’s done right, I think it works."
Members of the non-profit group Kent Wells Sherman House Inc. worked with the city and Kent State University to relocate the house Saturday to the temporary sliver of land, which is owned by the university.
The 1858 house has ties to the Kent family and other early prominent citizens. It can be stored on the lot through Dec. 1. If a permanent spot for the house can’t be found by then, it will be demolished.
The non-profit group’s preferred permanent location is on North Water Street between the Scribbles Coffee Company building and the Standing Rock Cultural Arts North Water Street Gallery. But last month members of the Kent Planning Commission rejected the KWSH site plan for moving the house to the vacant 247 N. Water St. parcel.
So the group is re-applying to the planning commission on Sept. 4 with a different site plan that moves the house closer to North Water Street and about 16 inches from the sidewalk.
Still, Sidoti's idea garnered some support.
Councilman Robin Turner said he would've supported Sidoti's idea had he made some kind of formal motion to take action on it. Sidoti merely made the suggestion during an open section of the meeting for council member comments.
"I know better than to make a motion," Sidoti said. "I just wanted to plant the seed."
University officials have said publicly that Kent State has no interest in housing the structure on university land — hence its move to allow construction on the Esplanade project.
The non-profit group working to save the house has two back-up locations should the new North Water Street proposal be rejected by the planning commission next month.
The first spot would be at the northeast corner of the intersection of Franklin Avenue and West College Avenue caddy corner from the Haymaker Farmers Market. The second spot would be along the Cuyahoga River on city owned land just south of the new Fairchild Avenue Bridge.
Sidoti said the house, if situated correctly on the College Avenue lot, could prove a welcoming site as visitors enter the downtown area. Though he did tell the city's service director "it sounds crazy."
"That house sitting on the corner is not an all bad thing," he said. "I think we should explore all options."