Standing Rock Offers Alternate Site for Kent Wells Sherman House

Arts group pleads with city council to consider working with Kent State to use lot at 202 N. Lincoln St.

The director of Standing Rock Cultural Arts made one last push Wednesday to try and stop the relocation of a historic Kent house to greenspace adjacent to the arts group's gallery.

Jeff Ingram, director of the SCRA, urged members of Kent City Council to stop the relocation of the Kent Wells-Sherman House to the lot at 247 N. Water St.

Ingram asked council to consider an alternate site for the historic house, which already has the necessary approval from several city commissions to be moved to the space next to the North Water Street Gallery.

He suggested the house be moved to the vacant lot at 202 N. Lincoln St., which is owned by Kent State University and was formerly home to Hillel at Kent State.

"North Lincoln over North Water has many benefits," Ingram said.

Ingram pointed to the lot's level grade as a potential cost savings, as the non-profit group working to save the house, Kent Wells Sherman House Inc., must move dirt to grade the lot on North Water Street so the house will sit level.

Members of Kent Wells Sherman House Inc. estimate initial site work and the cost for a new foundation will be $30,500, according to the group's redevelopment budget.

Ingram said he talked with university officials, who said they have no plans for the lot and would be willing to donate it to the city. If the city would then donate it to the Kent Wells Sherman House Inc., that would save the group the $21,000 cost to buy the lot on North Water Street, Ingram said.

The house at the lot was razed in May 2011.

"There’s also on-site parking available," Ingram said. "It’s a better fit on North Lincoln."

Members of the Kent Wells Sherman House board of directors disagree.

Roger Thurman, vice president of the Kent Wells Sherman House Inc. board, said that one part of this story that often is lost in reports is that of the non-profit board and what it's members want for the house — a location in the historic downtown district where it's sure to garner lots of exposure.

He disagreed with Ingram that the North Lincoln site would see lots of foot traffic. The group reviewed about a dozen possible sites for the house before settling on the spot next to the gallery.

"We prefer the North Water Street site," Thurman said.

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.

"We are planning to move ahead to locate the house to 247 N. Water St. where the project has received approval from the board of zoning appeals, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"kent-wells-sherman-house-relocation-edges-closer-to-reality"} -->, the and

Pat September 20, 2012 at 12:02 PM
That is a terrible spot for the house--right in the middle of the slobs we call college students--give us a break--next to Standing Rock is a much better place as it is right in the historical district of kent
Erin LaBelle September 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM
In my opinion, the Standing Rock supporters might feel better about the potential of the house being a neighbor if the intended purpose was more clear and definite. Also, the funding for this project will exceed the available funds and that is a concern. It could be quite some time before the project if finished. I sat in the space and drank a cup of tea yesterday morning and it was therapeutic. Several people came through or stopped to talk. It has a completely different feel that Home Savings Plaza and it valuable to our community. Green spaces make commercial areas thrive and I think this is being overlooked with all the development in Kent. It truly is a shame that so much conflict has been created around this issue. Not a good new beginning for the house or its supporters.
Sue September 20, 2012 at 12:45 PM
I think the fight is over. The Wells Sherman House will be moving to North Water Street. Let's work to heal the hurt feelings and end the war of words.
Miss Tia September 20, 2012 at 04:45 PM
standing rock has basically been squatting on that vacant lot for years and suddenly they act like they own the lot....why didn't they buy the land if they felt it was so vital to their 'center'???
Erin LaBelle September 20, 2012 at 05:20 PM
There is a big misunderstanding here between groups of people who think very differently. I have lived in many cities where vacant land has been stewarded by neighbors or neighboring businesses/nonprofits. This is actually very common and beneficial to the community. Arts and education nonprofits do not have a lot of extra money sitting around for the purchasing of buildings and lots nor does it seem necessary when there is a symbiotic relationship going on with the landowner. Using land, stewarding land and possessing the land are different things. The arts organizations are usually full of heart based people who trust and share. Until this time there has been no need to own the land. That would be my understanding of the situation. Using words like hippies, squatting, slobs etc are really lowering this conversation to a very negative and ugly level. We can do better folks.
William Gibson September 20, 2012 at 05:23 PM
This is a good example for organizations and individuals alike--if you don't secure your own future, and just "let it happen", you put yourself at risk. Such is the case. Hopefully both groups can move forward in a positive manner.
Resident of Kent September 21, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Sadly the real future will be this: The owners of the Sherman Well's house will request that the appropriate repairs be done to the SRCAC building or else it should be demolished... & then of course the LL will see the $$ signs for the other piece of land and instead of NOT doing the repairs... then wahlah! The new "neighbors" will then have acquired some more choice land for a parking lot... RIGHT ??!? Done fair & square in a world that values commerce over community.
Erin LaBelle September 21, 2012 at 12:35 PM
It is too bad the house could not go on the flat lot that belongs to the Kent Free Library. It would be a much more appropriate place for a historic house and I can imagine all kinds of great collaboration with the library. I heard that they wanted to keep it to put a garden up there but isn't that what already exists in the space the the house in claiming now? Better an empty space with more exposure than one that is already home to something rather important to a large number of Kent residents.
Fred Pierre September 21, 2012 at 05:58 PM
My apologies for making assumptions about the Friends' financing. I withdraw my remarks, and only state what I have said before - when thousands of dollars in taxpayer money is involved, the citizens have every right to speak out about our wishes. We have always been aware of the limitations of our power as individuals, but we hope that if we gather voices, those in power, who allocate our money, will lend an ear.
Paxton Crenshaw September 21, 2012 at 06:07 PM
what is your timeline for raising the 15K, sally, and how does your group plan on meeting that objective?
William B Budner ESQ. September 21, 2012 at 06:27 PM
paxton asked you a question sally... please arrange your talking points.
William B Budner ESQ. September 21, 2012 at 06:30 PM
i doubt it's all you will say, you bleat loudly when you have your talking points arranged, but meekly hide behind a website when you don't. get it together.
William B Budner ESQ. September 21, 2012 at 06:32 PM
why? you've had so much to say until now? PLEASE TELL ME SALLY. where's that 15K coming from???
Erin LaBelle September 21, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Maybe we can get President Obama to stop by the garden when he visits downtown Kent next week? I am sure he would love to hear about a city that does not value arts education, green space and food producing gardens enough to preserve a small parcel of land for a cultural arts non-profit.
Traci Monroe September 21, 2012 at 10:48 PM
It is a privately owned piece of property, it doesn't belong to the city. The property owner may develop it as he wishes in accordance with city zoning. This is NOT community property.
Erin LaBelle September 21, 2012 at 11:32 PM
It is a community issue though because there are city funds involved not to mention the city will own the house before they give it to Wells Sherman people from what I understand.
Misty Jones September 22, 2012 at 12:33 AM
That's what the quote from Emily Vincent of KSU said.
Traci Monroe September 22, 2012 at 12:57 AM
My understanding is that KWSH is buying the house from Kent State, not Kent City, for $1, and there are NO city funds involved at this time.
Misty Jones September 22, 2012 at 01:41 AM
“Kent State is giving the house to the city of Kent and not the Kent Wells Sherman House preservation group, and therefore, the university would only entertain the idea of using the 202 N. Lincoln St. property if approached by the city,” said Emily Vincent, director of university media relations. “Even then, the university would not donate the land, rather, it would have to be purchased or traded.” http://kentwired.com/standing-rock-cultural-arts-still-fighting-to-save-green-space/
Misty Jones September 22, 2012 at 01:42 AM
City funds are pending a $15,000 match. If that has not been raised how will $100,000 of planned initial restoration be paid?
Pax Crenshaw September 22, 2012 at 01:57 AM
here's your chance, matt, to show us what you've got as a journalist. an in-depth examination of this entire affair would be a great read and fun to write. meet with and explore the personalities/players from both sides (hawksely, burnell, ingram), interview council members, townies, etc. ask not only the right questions, but also ask tough questions, and then get the facts. you could really put together a thorough and unbiased article that reads less like a newsbite or propaganda piece and more like something you'd read in vanity fair or playboy. step it up a bit! a few well-researched stories each week would do way more for your site, our community (and probably readership) than an article on "football anthems that get you pumped". ish.
Sue September 22, 2012 at 11:59 AM
William, please stop taunting and insulting Sally. You seem more interested in putting her down with snide comments than with actually learning anything. Please act like a grownup. Others here have been polite.
Sue September 22, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Maybe we can show President Obama the Wells Sherman House, so he can see that Kent values historic preservation. Just because one patch of land will be used for something new does not mean that Kent does not value arts education or green space or food producing gardens. It's just one patch of land. It's not a large food-producing community garden. There is plenty of green space in and around Kent. SRCA can continue to do arts education. They are not the only ones doing this in Kent anyway. I think SRCA and others should let this go and adjust to the change. I support President Obama. I support green space. I support community activites for children. I also support moving the Wells Sherman House to the site on North Water Street. Many people in Kent agree with me.


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