Editor's note: this story was updated at 3:30 p.m.
A group of Kent residents who want to save a house with historic ties to the city from the wrecking ball asked Kent City Council for the city's help Wednesday night.
Supporters of a proposal to spare what's been called the "Wells-Sherman House" from being demolished asked council to place the issue on the committee meeting agenda for April 4 in order to hear a detailed proposal from the group.
Rick Hawksley, a local architect and member of the group, said the proposal asks for a small investment from the city and university.
"We’re working on securing the land, finding a place to move it," Hawksley said.
The house, at 250 E. Erie St., stands in the path of the university's Esplande extension from campus towards downtown, and several houses have already been demolished to make way for the new pathway. Construction on the Esplanade is scheduled to start this spring.
University officials have said they would be willing to sell the house for as little as $1 to someone with the means to move it and land to relocate it to.
The group's formal request to council, which is attached in a letter to this article, asks that the city make a "relatively small investment" to the effort by providing land, utilities, technical assistance and in-kind resources for the house's relocation, according to the letter. The group also asks for city administrators to work with them and the Kent Historical Society on the effort.
Sally Burnell, the founder of the group supporting the house, said even if it can't be proven to have historic ties to the city's namesake family, the house itself dates to before the Civil War and has other qualities that make it historically valuable to the community.
"I would ask that this house be preserved,” she said.
Burnell said she plans to conduct a detailed title search in the coming weeks on the house, which has been relocated once, to try and confirm its historic nature.
The effort has the support of the Kent Historical Society.
Tom Hatch, administrator for the historical society, said the house has historic value because it is one of only a handful of Kent buildings left that predate the Civil War, and because it has close associations to the Kent family.
"The Kent Historical Society has agreed to lend it’s support to the friends group and encourage council to consider their request in committee," Hatch said. "Once an appropriate location and use for the building has been identified, we plan to help the effort" through fundraising, he said.
Councilwoman Tracy Wallach moved to put the issue onto next week's committee agenda for discussion. Council voted unanimously, with an abstention from Councilman Jack Amrhein, to put the item on the agenda.
"So much demolition has been occurring because of all the new growth in the city," Wallach said. "I think it’s time to start saving some of our historical buildings as well."