Council to Re-Examine Wells-Sherman House Loan

Terms of repayment, other details to be talked about in committee

Kent City Council will take another look at the $15,000 loan to Kent Wells Sherman House, Inc., for relocation and restoration of the historic house.

Council voted recently to put the issue back in to a future committee meeting to review the details of the loan, which was originally approved in June 2012.

Councilman Roger Sidoti, who suggested the review, said he wanted to see details such as when the city will release the money and the term of the loan hashed out.

"I think there are two issues here," Sidoti said. "In good faith we are extending a significant portion of taxpayer money to the house. Obviously they are sitting on some issues they haven’t quite got rectified ... for the placement of the house."

The Kent Wells Sherman House group recently received a permit from the city to build a new foundation for the house on land owned by the group at 247 N. Water St. That permit is just one of many that must be approved in order to relocate the house permanently to the lot from its temporary location on East College Avenue.

The relocation remains tied up in a legal battle as well.

Portage County Common Pleas Judge John Enlow set a hearing date in the court battle over the relocation for Friday morning on the permanent injunction request made by the Save the Standing Rock Garden, a group of residents who oppose moving the house to the greenspace on North Water Street.

Citing those two issues, Sidoti said it appears it will be some time before the house can start to generate income for the group to repay the loan.

"Obviously we want to protect the taxpayer investment while being fair to the Kent Wells Sherman House group to have time to get income from the house to pay back the loan," Sidoti said.

A specific meeting date for reviewing the loan has not yet been set.

silly sally February 26, 2013 at 10:32 AM
taxpayer money+temporary location expired by three months+no public support+no way to generate income to pay back public money? time to shut this down.
matthew fredmonster February 26, 2013 at 10:36 AM
how much time should the KWSHI be granted to generate income? they can't even relocate the house! this has been a tremendous waste of tax payer money.
Sue February 26, 2013 at 11:49 AM
I support the move of the Kent Wells Sherman House to the site, and I hope the city council renews its commitment to support this effort. I hope the court finally puts an end to this ridiculous lawsuit and allows the legal owners of the land to go forward with moving the house.
Trans Plant February 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM
I agree the lawsuits have gone on way too long. Seems the garden folks lost and need to move on. However, public money shouldn't be used to save this house. If someone wants to save it, KSU is selling it for practically nothing so there's plenty of cost savings there. The house is not architecturally appealing; it's a white square with no distinguishing features other than how the roof ties into the square. It was a rental house for years so the interior probably has no distinguishing design either, if it ever did. Just because a building is old is not a good reason to save it, especially with public funds. There are other older and more historically significant homes and buildings in Kent already being well preserved.
Logan February 26, 2013 at 01:33 PM
I completely agree with Sally! Is council taking tips from failing businesses? Isn't the point of all this to generate more income? Maybe I am wrong, but come on! The council needs to have a sense of urgency to get things done much quicker, or else they will also lose their sense of urgency when I run against them to do my part in making Kent a better place and acting quicker to citizen demands...
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! February 26, 2013 at 01:56 PM
Yep, this is Kent. Of course it's tax payer money. Thanks. And obviously a lot of people find this house to be a bad move. If not, none of this would be going on. The house would have been moved and found a home long ago. The people in love with the house have talked down with disdain at anyone who desires to run barefoot and love nature instead of worshipping a junky old college rental. After a couple hundred thousand dollars to bring it up to code, what's the grand plan with the house? What a waste. Next up, Rick Hawksley writing a blog on the need for greenspace. Oh, bring on Kent's blast of irony.
Dave February 26, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Can we put a moratorium on hearing about this issue? This story is such an irritation. The Standing Rock folk are out of line with their lawsuit claiming rights to something they don't own. The KWSH people seem to be delusional in thinking this house has the same kind of historical significance as Monticello. A lot of money and energy is being wasted, both private and public to feed into the inexplicable egos of these two organizations. Please spare the community from more of this and let these outlier groups fight like children on their own time!
Laurel Myers Hurst February 26, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Please take time to finish your primary grammar before running for office, OK?
Logan February 26, 2013 at 07:00 PM
@Laurel Would you prefer a little bit of poor grammar or constant time and energy being wasted on meaningless projects in the city?
Tiffany Jones February 26, 2013 at 08:08 PM
Sometimes I wish the Kent Patch had a like button! Some of these comments are spot on!
returntoreason February 26, 2013 at 08:17 PM
I agree that public funds should not be used for this house. It was used as a rental for a number of years & probably doesn't have any significant historical value.
Pat February 26, 2013 at 08:52 PM
The city has never had a problem loaning tax payers money before or buying property for a higher than normal amount only to resell it at a lower amount also using tax papers money. Give the group the money so they can start the work and get this beautiful home to it's new location. I know a lot of people will help redo this home free of charge--just give them the chance!
Resident of Kent February 26, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Here's a wonderful idea... How about moving the house to where the site of the Farmers Market and have it open when the market is open! This way, the farmers can rent a space inside to help cover maintenance, rent, utilities... and the poles and wires for electricity are already there! DUH
Moral Woman February 26, 2013 at 11:17 PM
I wish those Standing Rock people would stay out of this. They are the ones who have been holding this up. An overwhelming majority of the good people of Kent want to see the house on that lot. This is about preserving our history here folks not showing off our lawyers
miked February 27, 2013 at 12:30 AM
The best place for it would be across the street from the Farmers Market on the empty lot on the corner of Franklin and West College Ave. It could than and be used as an integral part of the Farmers Market year round.
Joshua Goran February 27, 2013 at 12:39 AM
Just to be clear, SRCA itself isn't involved in this lawsuit. Also, I am curious where @Moral Woman's "overwhelming majority" was during any of the public discussion of this topic.
silly sally February 27, 2013 at 01:49 AM
there isn't one. just sally and a few friends.
sweet pits February 27, 2013 at 02:39 AM
the "overwhelming majority" of her multiple patch user ids, perhaps...
Balertwine February 27, 2013 at 03:46 AM
Let me clear up a few items here. People in the above comments state the Save the Standing Rock Garden lost and should allow this house move. Actually, the contrary occurred. The group won in the Planning Commission's July vote to deny the relocation of the house to the property. The group argued its case and presented petitions with 400 signatures of people opposing the move. KWSH presented their argument for the move, but lost. The law states the Planning Commission cannot reopen its decision for one year. Though KWSH does not want the house next to the sidewalk, they presented this alternative plan to a secret Architectural Review Board meeting in August/September. Two members of the ARB recused themselves from voting, since they play an active role in favor of moving the house, but violated the law by being involved in the discussions of the merits of the case.(continued below...)
Balertwine February 27, 2013 at 03:47 AM
The ARB rejected the next-to-the-sidewalk plan, which even KSWH didn't argue in favor of, and approved putting the house in the middle of the lot, which was a closed issue since the Planning Commission already vetoed that. The Save the Standing Rock group didn't attend the ARB meeting because the meeting was not announced to the public in accordance with well-established statewide "Sunshine" laws. The Planning Commission then violated the law by reconsidering the relocation proposal within less than one year of its prior denial, and the Planning Commission approved the plan they had just vetoed two months prior. The one-year law exists to prevent groups such as KWSH, McDonald's, Domino's Pizza etc. from presenting the same plan over and over again. However, where other developers abided by the one-year rule, KSWH received special treatment due to their connections with these people in city government. Because of these violations of the law and this corruption, the Save the Standing Rock group filed suit. They won the argument the first time around, and that victory was stolen from them through the corruption of the legal process.
Teresa K. February 27, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Tiffany: I'm waiting for the "ignore user" button.
Tiffany Jones February 27, 2013 at 02:51 PM
I think an "ignore topic" button would do as much good! :)
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! February 27, 2013 at 03:12 PM
Overwhelming majority? How many people do you think reside in Kent? Twemty? And someone should have been thinking about preserving history before it was a college rental. The house just isn't that historically relevant. And "those Standing Rock" people don't have anything to do with it. A good deal of "other people" have decided to take a stance against the house because they value nature in all forms over an old house.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! February 27, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Corruption of the legal process? In Kent? Gee, really? We are awfully close to Cuyahoga county. Some fun has to rub off on wee little Kent.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! February 27, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Yes it would, but why would they try to benefit the community? They (those who love the house) seem more interested in making fun of people who feel close ties to the Earth. The Farmer's Market is full of those darn tree-hugging happy people.
David Reith February 27, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Hear, hear!
David Badagnani March 03, 2013 at 05:01 AM
"Next up, Rick Hawksley writing a blog on the need for greenspace." $$$space must be more important to him than greenspace?


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