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Standing Rock Starts Petition to Save Green Space

Arts group continues fight to keep Wells-Sherman House from being relocated to lot by gallery

The artists and supporters of Standing Rock Cultural Arts are not giving up their fight against to green space next to the group's gallery.

The supporters have established an online petition that urges members of Kent City Council to help save the green space targeted for the relocation of the house. Supporters also have set up a Facebook page for the effort called "Save the Standing Rock Garden."

As of Thursday, 29 out of a goal of 300 digital signatures had been collected.

These latest two efforts come about one week after council voted to give a 10-year, $15,000 loan to the non-profit group TransPortage to aid in moving the house to the lot, which is located between the and the building on North Water Street.

There are a few things that must happen before the move can take place.

TransPortage still has to buy the land — a purchase agreement is in place — and get a line of credit to cover the other expenses associated with moving, renovating and bringing the house up to code.

And the Kent Planning Commission and Kent Board of Zoning Appeals have yet to vote on the site plan for the house as it would sit on the lot. They are expected to review the site plans in July, but the planning commission did hear last month.

The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! July 02, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Mother nature is the best artist of all, filling in each and every hole we humans leave her (which are fewer and farther between) by filling it with her life giving bounty. Bust out a wild edibles book and enjoy nibbling your way though the lot. You don't have to smoke "funny cigarettes" to enjoy nature. Thanks for proving the way you feel about everyone who does enjoy the wee bit of wild left on N. Water St. Hang out with a young child and find your youth again in the joy, beauty and wonder in their faces as they explore the lot. A plot of land like that in the city is a gold mine for the pure, inquisitive mind of a child. And for plenty of adults, too. Humans are hard wired to react to nature. Step back and let her in. Mother nature is solace and intropsection, and anywhere she plants her seeds, she nourishes the world. Mind, body and soul.
Matt Fredmonsky July 02, 2012 at 03:06 PM
A comment was removed for violating Patch's terms of use. http://kent.patch.com/terms
Casey Myers July 02, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Whether or not people like the way the garden looks is a matter of personal preference. I personally value native plants over mulch and marigolds, but that's just my opinion. I value the community that this space supports, much of which is associated with SRCA, but some of which isn't. I am a person who has enjoyed this space for years, but I have no formal affiliation with SRCA. What should be a point of contention for every taxpayer in this city (whether you enjoy the space as is or not) are the the very same questions that Tina Puckett and Lisa Regula have posed that have gone without answers. With TransPortage backing away from this project, it now is being spearheaded by Hawksley and FSWH, neither of which are sanctioned NPOs. Why is a private land deal being funded with public dollars? What plans are in place to repay the city, considering the other significant costs that will be incurred during the development of the site and restoration of the house? If the city is loaning money to this project, there must be transparency.
Chris (Kit) Myers July 02, 2012 at 03:50 PM
The land here was forest with, of course, lower growth plants native to the area. As a small child I spent hours in the woods which is now Silver Meadows. As teenager I spent hours in Davey Woods, and when I was old enough to drive I spent hours at Towner's Woods. I spend time to this day at Towner's Woods. I know what mother nature intended in northeastern Ohio. Why not get rid of the grass toward the front and plant native plants with a path leading to the rear open area. I guess my question is, do you want what mother nature does to a lot that goes vacant or do you want what she did before it was built upon. If it is the latter, perhaps I can help, if, that is, you manage to retain control, which I hope you do. Of course children like it as it is now. Children like any place where there is not a building.
Roger Thurman July 02, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Our preferred site was on the Esplanade but did not fit with KSU's plan. Next were by the Kent Free Library (gorgeous site) and then Tannery Park. Subsequently eleven more locations were researched and all were not available or infeasible because of the expense of moving (utility and tree removal). Lake Street is way beyond possible because of the expense. Once again, I must question the motivation of SRCA in their strident protest against a building placement which can only enhance and upgrade their neighborhood location. By resisting over an empty lot you don't own, and with your primary site in poor condition (by your own admission) it sounds to me as though you are making a covenant with the people of Kent to never move from that location. All this at the risk of disrupting the salvation of an important historic structure, the provenance of which is beyond dispute. The month-to-month status of your tenancy and now the uproar over something you don't own or properly care for makes people wonder about the wisdom and competence of your leadership and board which has put you where you are. Why not direct the enmity at them, where it really belongs, and not at a group which bears no malice of any kind toward SRCA? Here's my opinion: I don't believe you will be at that location very much longer because any rational observer will conclude you need a more appropriate facility commensurate with the long-term goals of your worthy organization.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! July 02, 2012 at 07:38 PM
They paved paradise And put up a parking lot With a pink hotel *, a boutique And a swinging hot spot Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone They paved paradise And put up a parking lot
Lisa Regula Meyer July 02, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Roger, you might notice that it's not just SRCA that doesn't want the house there. The community in general doesn't want to see 300K spent on a house that will serve as office space and quite possibly fail as a venture because it doesn't have solid backing and a transparent organizational plan behind it. Now the original non-profit associated with the house doesn't even want to back the project. Really, what's more important- a building or a community? FWSH is destroying one to keep the other.
Tina Puckett July 03, 2012 at 03:22 AM
::And crickets continue to chirp and chirp but the cash registers ding cha-ching cha-ching::
Fred Pierre July 03, 2012 at 05:51 AM
Heads up critics! The SRCA gallery was repainted and restored about nine years ago, with dozens of volunteers pitching in. Those "weeds" are native Ohio cultivars, specifically chosen for their beneficial uses in healing. Stones were hand set to create the garden areas, and lilacs were planted to strengthen the hill against erosion. Of course there are some weeds. Get real! There are weeds in the Home Savings Plaza as well, but we don't have to bulldoze it. There is now a $10,500 matching grant available to save this green space.
Tom Tucker July 03, 2012 at 10:47 AM
Care to tell me exactly what specifically what I said was a violation of TOS, and point to specific examples in your TOS where those specific words are against TOS? Good grief. No wonder some of you work for Patch. Oh oh. Is THAT a violation of TOS, too?
Roger Thurman July 03, 2012 at 02:30 PM
May I suggest that in view of the poor condition of your primary site and the lack of a lease you take that money and find a better location? You can buy one of the distressed properties in Kent (120 W. Elm) for $700 down and $300 per month. That's just one example. Here's why it is important to place the Sherman-Wells house on N. Water: a). Context, it restores a Greek Revival to a lot which previously hosted a similar structure; b) Our Roots, a Kent family home is saved and placed on the same street as the original location; c) History, it will match other Civll War era houses in the neighborhood, d), Politics, located across from the John Brown Hotel (now JB's) it will remind us of how agrarian Kent appeared when people lived closer to the land and the town was a center of Abolitionist activity; e) Aesthetics and Revolution, the Greek Revival architecture itself was a effort by Americans to break from the Georgian styles which symbolized the era of British colonial rule. Kent was full of such frame buildings before the advent of the larger masonry structures. Note how some masonry structures have crumbled while the timber framed Sherman-Wells house has remained strong with ten inch beams pegged and fitted together barn-style. It is a splendid example of this architecture and will grace the North Water neighborhood in a serene, classical style intertwined with the history of our country and your town.
Lisa Regula Meyer July 03, 2012 at 02:37 PM
And yet, it's a building. An old building, built by people who are long dead. The people who are alive and living in Kent now would rather see the estimated $300,000 dollars for the full project spent in better ways than creating offices. If it does end up as a public community center of some sort, there won't be the cash needed to support this extravagant a project. There are offices downtown, there are free community rooms downtown, there are historic structures downtown, and there are plenty of other ways to remember the founders of our town that don't involve taking away from the culture and character of the city.
Roger Thurman July 03, 2012 at 03:00 PM
We want to renew the history of Kent and this building will add to and restore the culture of Kent. Your organization needs a much better structure which it owns and can develop. Your bulk of your programs can carry on from anywhere in Kent and will not be affected in any way by this building. You are saying you intend to occupy that poor facility forever and I don't believe that to be the actual case given the real conditions of your situation there. This is a double dose of change and reality and you have not prepared for either, which is a fundamental responsibility of those who run an organization. Victimhood as a way of life is not attractive or productive. Our cost estimates are worst case. We will bring it in for far less.
Casey Myers July 03, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Nothing like bulldozing an organic garden to remind us of our agrarian roots, huh?
Lisa Regula Meyer July 03, 2012 at 03:07 PM
It's not my organization, Roger, and SRCA isn't the only group that uses that space, the people in the community do. This is not an issue of "victimhood", this is a case of believing that might makes right, and taking advantage of privilege. Cost estimates may be worst case, but with an old structure, there's always the chance of worst case being even worse than you expected, so I wouldn't count on that argument, if I were you.
Casey Myers July 03, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Restoring the culture of Kent? To what past state? There's a wonderful community of people who are connected through the garden right now. And besides, this isn't just a Standing Rock issue. You are addressing everyone as if they are arguing from the perspective that the only reason to oppose the house is because of SRCA programming. For a lot of people, this has nothing to do with SRCA and everything to do with money, transparency, community and the environment. Since when did dissent become victimhood as a way of life?
Lisa Regula Meyer July 03, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Wait, which side is throwing insults and leaving questions unanswered? Who's been secretive and making back room deals? Who wants public money for a private project? Who's been flat out insulting and hides behind pseudonyms? Who's the hater? Refer to Tina's questions. Get someone to answer them. Let me know how long that takes and what you find out.
Concerned Kent Citizen July 03, 2012 at 04:19 PM
and who owns the land? Not Tina.
Tina Puckett July 03, 2012 at 05:19 PM
May I suggest that in view of the poor condition of your primary site and the lack of a lease you take that money and find a better location? You can buy one of the distressed properties in Kent (120 W. Elm) for $700 down and $300 per month. That's just one example." This is not SRCA funds being used for this. This is community and community organizations stepping forward with donations and grants to preserve the green space as the community has indicated they would like. Know the facts before you speak please but, better yet, offer some facts to the community's questions instead of deflecting, sir.
Roger Thurman July 03, 2012 at 05:20 PM
On the plus side we're getting some rain finally!
Tina Puckett July 03, 2012 at 05:22 PM
The only thing I will dignify in a response here to someone who consistently deflects in order to avoid answering questions is that not one representative from SRCA ever indicated that we will inhabit our current location forever as is. We continue to support the green space and believe us when we say that our cultural arts activities will happen if we have no office at all - even if we had to do it out of a green space. The events happen not because of a building but because of a passion for the arts and community and a commitment to community through the arts, even if it's fee-free and open to the entire community, bucks or no bucks, income or humanity.
Tina Puckett July 03, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Feel free to reference previous comments of mine to confirm that and the questions that the community have asked that still go unanswered can be reviewed there as well.
Tina Puckett July 03, 2012 at 05:28 PM
We understand the current mode of operation to deflect and not answer crucial community questions about community and city support but so do other readers and it's not gaining community support for FWSH. Incidentally, SRCA reps and I specifically have never claimed ownership, only use. Feel free to reread my comments where I state that the land is owned by others but has been in use and maintained for 20 years with the owner's permission. Grass doesn't mow itself. Rain gardens don't build themselves and solar panels don't erect themselves. We only support the community's wishes, which includes our own, for the native, organic plants to thrive here and offer community respite in a natural setting. Funds can secure that. Funds have been offered as available to do so. They aren't SRCA funds on the table at this time so that point is moot. What were the answers to the community's questions again? This really isn't about deflection on one organization who has spoken up for the REAL green.
Chris (Kit) Myers July 03, 2012 at 05:36 PM
What?!!! "...rich dead white folks' house?" What does the race or economic situation of any previous owner have to do with this? Your statement is out of line and you really need to rethink your attitude. Are you a racist?
Roger Thurman July 03, 2012 at 05:38 PM
We are in the process of setting up a meeting with the SRCA board through one of the intermediaries. I have met personally with Jeff last week. Other FSWH members have sent emails requesting a meeting but there has been no response. I bumped into somebody yesterday and McDonald's and he got back to me with the word that it would take a couple of days to set up a meeting. You can ask all your questions and we'll answer as best we can. I have tried to be factual and explain why we want to move this house.
William B Budner ESQ. July 03, 2012 at 06:27 PM
i'm sure you have been factual about why you want to move the house. i also think other people affiliated with SRCA and not affiliated with them have been factual about not wanting to move it and or the costs associated with moving this "piece of history". so now what? both sides are being "factual", who wins?
Tina Puckett July 04, 2012 at 02:49 AM
SRCA will be happy to meet and a response to the emails sent yesterday and today (3 total from the same person I believe) is in process. It might be helpful and taken more seriously as an overture for negotiation if the emails from other FWSH members didn't have a flurry of suggestions for where SRCA should move to in order to vacate and get out of the way of the Wells Sherman project however. Our building is not currently for sale nor closed and we have not advertised that we are seeking a space as of late. If FWSH wants to be good neighbors or considered to be wanting to be good neighbors, it's helpful to not be asking the long-time residents to vacate... Just a friendly little tip.
Tina Puckett July 04, 2012 at 02:51 AM
In fact, it's interesting that so much time is being spent invested in finding new locations for SRCA to vacate to than finding a better location where FWSH might not meet community clamor. Perhaps, energy should be reinvested in FWSH, not SRCA.
Casey Myers July 04, 2012 at 04:11 AM
You're right, but some facts are missing. Again: Since Transportage has backed out, to whom is the city lending $15,000? FWSH is not incorporated as an NPO (according to the state and the IRS), so are we to assume that public funds are helping to finance Mr. Hawksley's private land deal? If so, I think it is also safe to assume that the side that "wins" will be the one with the most money and the most connections to City Hall.

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