Officials in Columbus gave the OK Monday for Kent State University officials to spend $1.57 million buying land to extend the Esplanade from campus into downtown Kent.
The Ohio Office of Budget and Management Controlling Board signed off on the university's plans to spend the money on nine properties in the neighborhood west of campus.
The bulk of the expenses approved Monday, $1.51 million, will pay for six parcels owned by Portage County Commissioner and Kent resident Chris Smeiles. The balance will be split between two other property owners, Dorothy Meyer and RHS Development, Inc, for three parcels, according to the controlling board's meeting agenda for Dec. 12, 2011.
The Kent State University Board of Trustees approved the land buys in September.
So far, the university trustees have approved spending more than $6 million buying land in the neighborhood west of campus since 2007. And that total excludes the $3.28 million expected for construction costs to actually build the pedestrian and bicycle pathway linking the campus to downtown.
In June, university officials said they had secured all the key properties necessary along the proposed Esplanade route, but that they were still working on buying additional properties necessary to provide landscape buffer areas for the Esplanade extension.
Scroll down for past coverage on Esplanade land buys: