Councilman: Wells Sherman Loan 'Bad Business'
Council votes to loan $15,000 to historic house relocation effort
Kent City Council voted Wednesday to lend $15,000 to the effort to relocate the Wells Sherman House — but not without some opposition.
Councilmen John Kuhar and Wayne Wilson voted against releasing the money for the loan, which will be used as part of the effort to permanently relocate the house to the greenspace at 247 N. Water St.
Kuhar called the loan bad business on the city's part because there is no set promissory note or legal mortgage for the loan that spells out what would happen if the non-profit group receiving the loan, Kent Wells Sherman House, Inc., defaults on repayment.
"I have yet to see a finished copy of the actual promissory note or mortgage note, but evidently there’s not going to be any mortgage because we’re not asking for any security," Kuhar said. "Apparently we’ll just say they owe us."
Council voted earlier this month in committee to agree to release the loan with the simple terms of a one-year deferment on repayment with a payback period of 10 years. The ordinance authorizing the loan also stipulates it will be used as "match money" to raise additional financial support for moving the house, which remains in its temporary location at the western end of East College Avenue where it was moved in August 2012.
The loan agreement also stipulates the city will release the money after the Kent Wells Sherman House group pays for its building permit for the foundation for the house.
Roger Thurman, vice chairman of the board for the Kent Wells Sherman House, Inc., told council earlier this month that while the group owns the lot on North Water Street it does not yet have the title for the house, which is owned by Kent State University.
Thurman said the title to the house is considered clouded because of the ongoing court case involving the house and the citizen group Save the Standing Rock Garden, which is trying to block the move to the North Water Street lot.
Attorneys for the city, which also is a party to the lawsuit, and Save the Standing Rock Garden filed what are expected to be final arguments in the case this month.
"We intend to go ahead with our project," Thurman said.