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Council Gives $15,000 to Wells-Sherman House Effort

Friends of Kent Wells-Sherman House plan to relocate it to North Water Street

The Kent residents working to and save it from demolition cleared one of many obstacles to the effort Wednesday.

voted to spend $15,000 of city money to help relocate the house to the Friends of the Kent Wells-Sherman House have identified as the best viable option for the structure.

The vote, in committee, came after a 90 minute discussion about the proposal and whether the city has the time and resources to help with the effort.

Council voted 6-2 in favor of loaning $15,000 to the group, which indicated it would only accept the money if it can raise another $15,000 to match the effort.

Rick Hawksley, a Kent architect coordinating the relocation of the house, said they already have $6,000 pledged towards that matching $15,000.

"Our intention is not to come back to the city council for anything after tonight," Hawksley said Wednesday.

With council's cash support, Kent State University — which needs to move the house to build its Esplanade extension — has pledged providing up to $40,000 towards moving the house.

Getting cash support from the city is just one of several concerns about the move. The relocation project also needs variances from the Kent Board of Zoning Appeals to use the site on North Water Street and the overall site plan needs approval from the Kent Planning Commission. Both planning boards will vote on the issue later this month on June 18 and 19 respectively.

Another potential problem for the relocation is the fact the house may have to be moved before the zoning and planning boards take their votes given the tight time frame for construction of the Esplanade extension.

Despite the tight timing, Hawksley said they would move the house to the North Water Street site if necessary even before the planning and zoning boards take their votes.

Hawksley said he's confident both boards will support the plan.

An estimated break down of costs associated with the relocation and restoration is attached to this article along with the proposed site plan. To read more about its proposed use, .

Kent architect Doug Fuller, who is involved in desiging the Acorn Alley projects, spoke in favor of the project at Wednesday's meeting.

Fuller said all the new construction in downtown Kent is important but no more so than preserving the city's important existing structures.

"This house happens to be just an extraordinary example of not only architecture but of the history of the city of Kent," Fuller said. "For any one of those two reasons alone the building deserves to be saved."

The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! June 07, 2012 at 12:37 PM
That $15,000 would be better spent to fix the bridge to access the Kramer Ball fields.
Teresa K. June 07, 2012 at 01:03 PM
@mary: there is plenty of money to go around. I'm sure we can move the house AND fix that bridge.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! June 07, 2012 at 01:22 PM
How many years have we been waiting?
Paxton Crenshaw June 07, 2012 at 01:25 PM
a ridiculous allocation of funds to appease but a few.
William B Budner ESQ. June 07, 2012 at 04:48 PM
agreed. biggest waste of public money i've seen lately.
William B Budner ESQ. June 07, 2012 at 05:43 PM
i also feel bad for you, that you can't see the waste of 15K to move a college rental...
Jon Ridinger June 07, 2012 at 05:53 PM
$15,000 wouldn't do much to fix the Kramer Fields bridge since it will cost about $1 million to replace. Plus, Dave Ruller already explained why it's taking so long: bridge projects take a long time, even more so for non-essential bridges like at Kramer. Giving that project $15,000 won't speed it up. And the title is somewhat misleading here: Council is going to *loan* the group $15,000; they are not simply going to *give* them the money. I'm happy it was a loan. I'm still concerned about the building's long-term viability, but it's nice to see council helping in a little way to promote historic preservation. That's not to say we should unilaterally save every old building, but if a group can get the funds and have a solid plan for a building, it's a good thing for the city in the long run to promote this kind of thing, in the same way it was a good thing to get the old hotel off the hands of its previous owner (which the city took a $300k hit to do, far more than a $15k loan).
Paxton Crenshaw June 07, 2012 at 08:06 PM
i've got an historic home and I want a pool (in-ground and architecturally appropriate, of course). will city council lend me some money? or maybe sally and her friends can just come by and help me pull historic weeds from my historic gardens... why all the hoopla over this shanty - come help those of us who actually maintain and preserve our century-old properties.
Paxton Crenshaw June 07, 2012 at 09:03 PM
i've seen the interior photos and guess what? it's a shanty.
William B Budner ESQ. June 07, 2012 at 09:04 PM
yeh i'm gonna second that, shanty it is!
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! June 07, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Nattering nabobs of negativity? I'm now terrified to know how you describe yourself.
Lisa Regula Meyer June 07, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Or maybe, Sally, different people simply have different views on what's important for our town. You and TransPortage have chosen to focus on history, others of us choose to focus on kids and green space. No need for name-calling.
Bethany Tipton Snyder June 08, 2012 at 12:31 AM
I'm glad the house is being saved for a variety of reasons not the least of which being that I lived there for a summer in college. Oh the stories that house could tell....
Lisa Regula Meyer June 08, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Sally, it's a unique space, as the Sherman-Wells house is a unique house. Have you been down there? It's not at all like Home Savings Plaza or other spots downtown. You see the value and reasons to keep the house in its history and the fact that it's the only 2-story Greek revival home left here; find a place that has edible gardens and kids building theater props downtown. It's a difference of priorities and opinions.
Paxton Crenshaw June 08, 2012 at 02:19 AM
what is the listed price of this water st. lot, sally?
Teresa K. June 08, 2012 at 02:42 AM
I'm all for saving the house. What I'm intrigued about is WHY didn't the demolition deciders KNOW about the history before it got on the list to bulldoze? Why aren't these people/ developers doing their homework? Especially for something so wonderful, astounding, incredible, and let's-pin-all-our-hopes-on the Esplanade ! The Esplanade is going to save us from ruin as a city!!! am I right? ; ) This group is working their tales off to try to save one house. I commend them, I really do. Some things are worth fighting for.
Paxton Crenshaw June 08, 2012 at 02:57 AM
what is the price of the lot, sally?
Paxton Crenshaw June 08, 2012 at 02:57 AM
the price, please?
Paxton Crenshaw June 08, 2012 at 03:06 AM
because i'd hand over the cash tomorrow. just because.
Lisa Regula Meyer June 08, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Twenty-one thousand, according to the price breakdown above. http://kent.patch.com//articles/council-gives-15-000-to-help-save-wells-sherman-house#pdf-10210501
Paxton Crenshaw June 08, 2012 at 03:28 AM
assuming the friends-of-kent-wells-sherman-house (fokwsh) is a transparent organization, this information should be public and is an important part of the story - matt? personally, sally, i have nothing vested in this other than my opinion that the house is a worthless dump with a historic value significantly less than the cost it will take to relocate and REHABILITATE it. you keep saying "you want to buy it, cough up the money" - well ma'am, i just might. although the pleasure i'd get from keeping this property "as is" might not be nearly as much fun as seeing the financial and aesthetic outcome of this foolish preservation endeavor your group plans on undertaking.
Paxton Crenshaw June 08, 2012 at 04:24 AM
bluntly put, i oppose your efforts because they are a waste of time and money. and now that council has given your group 15K, i can look at it as a waste of MY money. and i really don't have an agenda, but i'm sick of hearing about zenas and his family - this means nothing to me. saving historic architecture is important but a good story doesn't always mean the building should be saved - because at the end of the day, it's the structure that exists in our town and on our block, not the story that zenas, his wife, daughter and son-in-law lived in the place over a century ago (eye roll). and to suggest i'd want to demolish the pufferbelly or masonic temple is ridiculous and you know it. they are beautiful landmarks in our town. as is the old kent jail house at fred fuller park (see, i'm not all about size). but sadly, sally, you've come on here and insulted not just our opinions, but us as individuals (see your comment above, "what is your problem, anyway"). with such statements, you have made your group "my" problem, and because of this, i would love to purchase this property - to not only keep the space the way it is, but also to put an end to what has quickly become "my problem".
Paxton Crenshaw June 08, 2012 at 04:31 AM
"we have the support of some very influential people in this town" blah blah blah. are you trying to intimidate me with your fokwsh posse? and i'm sure i'd have the support of many also, but more importantly, sally, i've got cash.
Tina Puckett June 08, 2012 at 05:28 AM
"If...you are so up in arms about this, why did you not come to the...meeting...? If you can't bother to come...dialogue with us...why...here? This is neither the time nor...place to...carry on any...civil dialogue...Rick Hawksley has...had opportunity to speak to Jeff ingram...so why not talk to Jeff about what they spoke about? Not as if our people haven't spoken to your people..." As far as representatives of Standing Rock Cultural Arts attending the meeting, the 5/30 Record Courier said that a prelim review would take place this past Tuesday and then plans would be fully reviewed on 7/17 (later moved to 6/19). Our Executive Director, Jeff Ingram, was working (his non-SRCA job) this past Tuesday and was unable to attend for that reason. We found out about an hour before the Wednesday meeting that it would take place and Jeff was again working (the non-SRCA job). I had prior family obligations Tuesday and graduate course obligations Wednesday. We did have a representative present. As for most of the commenters (not all), they are not affiliated with SRCA or are unknown to us from the names we've seen so I'm not sure who "your people" references. Jeff has been in dialogue-including stating opposition to the location-with Mr. Hawksley. We are concerned that a move could be enacted before the commission's approval. We certainly intend no malice or upset due to differing opinions yet cannot speak for others who have also supported the community green space and its uses.
Tina Puckett June 08, 2012 at 05:33 AM
I abbreviated the quote above due to issues with the amount of characters permitted for the comment using ... so folks can go back and reference what was removed but I tried my best to keep the original core of the message intact. I simply wanted to reference the questions I am answering and still have room enough to explain. I'd be happy to copy the full paragraph as a reference of the original quote if anyone feels offended by the omitted language as I'm not here with any goal to offend anyone.
Tina Puckett June 08, 2012 at 05:36 AM
Actually, on further thought, I've decided to post the paragraph as a reference just in case since I couldn't fit all of it and all of what I needed to express in my post: "If all of you are so up in arms about this, why did you not come to the City Council meeting last night to say so? If you can't bother to come and dialogue with us about it, then why are you kvetching about it here? This is neither the time nor the place to try to carry on any kind of civil dialogue over it. Besides, I believe that Rick Hawksley has already had opportunity to speak to Jeff ingram about this, so why not talk to Jeff about what they spoke about? Not as if our people haven't spoken to your people about it. So there you go." This is to what my post responds.
Cy June 08, 2012 at 05:37 AM
Sally, I can't help but feel as though you are YELLING at everyone. Couldn't it be said that you are a "nattering nabob of negativity" in the eyes of those who hold a different view? You are obviously passionate, but you feel your passion is the only one that's warranted. You seem to be irate because others don't place importance on what you hold hear...are you willing to see what others value as equally important? You keep reiterating historical facts as proof of the validity of your position, but when Lisa states facts about the worth of the current uses of the lot, you brush her off and tell her to get real? I think both sides have merit, but I can't help but feel as though your discourse is unreasonable.
Paxton Crenshaw June 08, 2012 at 01:17 PM
a sincere apology never contains the word "if" - try replacing "if" with the word "that". i suspect it's a little late to recommend charm school, but you get my drift...
Paxton Crenshaw June 08, 2012 at 02:02 PM
i hope the saying is true that "third time's the charm" (used when the third time one tries something, one achieves a successful outcome.)
Paxton Crenshaw June 08, 2012 at 02:21 PM
it is apparent that historic sayings have no worth either.

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