UPDATE: Former Hillel Site Unlikely Location for Wells-Sherman House
Kent State has no immediate plans to swap or sell North Lincoln property
Editor's note: this story was updated at 1:54p.m.
The former site of the Hillel at Kent State University on North Lincoln Street may not be the premiere alternate site for the Kent Wells Sherman House some want it to be.
Jeff Ingram, director of Standing Rock Cultural Arts, suggested this week the vacant lot at 202 N. Lincoln St. would be a better fit for the historic Kent house than the space at 247 N. Water St. — next door to SRCA.
Ingram made the suggestion at Wednesday's Kent City Council meeting and suggested university officials might be willing to work with the city to use the land for the Kent Wells Sherman House.
Tom Euclide, Kent State’s associate vice president for Facilities Planning and Operations, said Ingram may have misconstrued an email conversation they had.
"We’re not making any deals with him or the Sherman House folks," Euclide said. "I told Jeff Ingram that the university is working solely with the city. The city has not asked us for any land. That’s not to say we wouldn’t entertain an invitation to be involved."
Euclide said the university would only entertain a request from the city — Kent State's partner in redeveloping part of downtown — to either sell the land or swap it for another piece of property and would not work directly with either non-profit organization on the issue.
Euclide added that the university has no plans to do either.
"We did not offer the land," he said. "We said we would entertain it if a request came. He took my encouraging words and turned them into a promise."
Ingram said Friday in an email that he understands the action would have to take place between the city and university.
"I in no way intended to suggest a deal between either SRCA and the University nor between KWSH and the university," Ingram said.
In a document distributed to council members Wednesday Ingram suggested the city swap or buy the land from the university and then donated it to KWSH. That document is attached to this article.
However, Kent City Council took no action on Ingram's request Wednesday and members of KWSH say there's not enough time before the Dec. 1 demolition deadline to secure the North Lincoln Street site in time to move the house from its temporary location on East College Avenue.
The movement of the house to 247 N. Water St. is all but a certainty, as the project already received approval from the Kent Board of Zoning Appeals, the Kent Architectural Review Board and the Kent Planning Commission.
Members of the Kent Wells Sherman House Inc. board have discounted the site as inappropriate for the house and strife with legal obstacles to such a move.
Ann Ward, a member of the KWSH board, said they never originally considered the North Lincoln Site because it's not in a commercial zoning district, which is what the house needs in order to have an upstairs business tenant.
She suggested the community accept the situation and move forward and that both Standing Rock and KWSH find a way to cooperate.
"The conflict between both of these non-profit organizations has taken its toll on many," Ward said.