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Councilman Suggests Leaving Wells-Sherman House on College Avenue

At-large Kent City Councilman Roger Sidoti says idea "sounds crazy."

It may be highly unlikely, but a Kent City Council member has suggested leaving the Kent Wells-Sherman House on what is most likely for the historic structure.

At-large Councilman Roger Sidoti suggested at the end of council's Wednesday meeting that the temporary location at the western end of East College Avenue might prove the best option for the house.

"I would just like to throw that out as something to think about," Sidoti said. "If it’s done right, I think it works."

Members of the non-profit group Kent Wells Sherman House Inc. worked with the city and Kent State University to relocate the house Saturday to the temporary sliver of land, which is owned by the university.

The 1858 house has ties to the Kent family and other early prominent citizens. It can be stored on the lot through Dec. 1. If a permanent spot for the house can’t be found by then, it will be demolished.

The non-profit group’s preferred permanent location is on North Water Street between the Scribbles Coffee Company building and the Standing Rock Cultural Arts North Water Street Gallery. But last month members of the Kent Planning Commission rejected .

So the group is re-applying to the planning commission on Sept. 4 with a different site plan that moves the house closer to North Water Street and about 16 inches from the sidewalk.

Still, Sidoti's idea garnered some support.

Councilman Robin Turner said he would've supported Sidoti's idea had he made some kind of formal motion to take action on it. Sidoti merely made the suggestion during an open section of the meeting for council member comments.

"I know better than to make a motion," Sidoti said. "I just wanted to plant the seed."

University officials have said publicly that Kent State has no interest in housing the structure on university land — hence its move to allow .

The non-profit group working to save the house has two back-up locations should the new North Water Street proposal be rejected by the planning commission next month.

The first spot would be at the northeast corner of the intersection of Franklin Avenue and West College Avenue caddy corner from the . The second spot would be along the Cuyahoga River on city owned land just south of the new Fairchild Avenue Bridge.

Sidoti said the house, if situated correctly on the College Avenue lot, could prove a welcoming site as visitors enter the downtown area. Though he did tell the city's service director "it sounds crazy."

"That house sitting on the corner is not an all bad thing," he said. "I think we should explore all options."

David Badagnani August 16, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Good article. To the author: I think the correct word for diagonally across the street is "catercorner" or "catercornered" (although almost always pronounced "cattycorner"). A caddy corner might be found on a golf course, though (near the caddy shack).
David Badagnani August 16, 2012 at 05:10 PM
There was just a comment by Lisa Regula (in response to Michael Pacifico), about the lack of response from those trying to move the house to North Water Street, just above about 5 minutes ago, now it's not there. What happened?
Lisa Regula Meyer August 16, 2012 at 05:21 PM
No, Michael, there have been emails left without response from multiple community and SRCA members to KSWH. I can dig up and post all the correspondence that I've had about the house the past couple of months, if you'd like (but some of it's not quite appropriate for a site like Patch). Other people might also be willing to share, but I can't speak for them.
Lisa Regula Meyer August 16, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Not sure, but I've had some web-browser issues lately, so that might be it (stupid Firefox)? I've re-posted as close as I could remember.
citizen number eight August 16, 2012 at 05:46 PM
We don't want it on West College street either. Put it in a park like they did in the Arboretum or like the Kent Jailhouse.
Fred Pierre August 16, 2012 at 06:41 PM
One would think that the owners of the house's current site, the taxpayers who support Kent State University and the University officials would be the ones to make the decision. The zoning is residential-commercial which is good, and the site is central to the downtown, providing a Visitor's Center functionality. The College St. site also highlights the historical structure and can contribute to the design of the Esplanade. If you support the current location, you can certainly contact your state legislator or Kent State University. I don't think the City really has much to say about it.
Kent Pride August 16, 2012 at 06:43 PM
I think most are still in agreement that the North Water Street plot next to Standing Rock Arts is the best place for this house. The artists renderings really make a compelling argument for that. It'll be there anyway by December so all arguments otherwise are moot.
Joseph Hughes August 16, 2012 at 06:44 PM
You have absolutely no proof that "most" actually do agree with you. In fact, hundreds who have signed the petition disagree with you. Nice try.
Joseph Hughes August 16, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Beyond that, those artist renderings are a sham. They not only misrepresent the scale of the house, but they also distort its surroundings. If an architect did a rendering of the house in the above suggested location, it would look good, too. That's the things about artist renderings: They're idealized representations. The house doesn't look like it fits there and, frankly, it's insulting to our intelligence to maintain that that plot is the only place that house can go.
Joseph Hughes August 16, 2012 at 06:51 PM
There's that trademark optimism and willingness to adapt to reach consensus that's made KWSHI such a neighborly organization.
Kent Pride August 16, 2012 at 06:53 PM
I have talked to many many people who think the best suitable place for the house is on that land next to Standing Rock despite what the so called "petitions" say. The artists rendering of the house on that land was enough to turn a lot of opinions and I know people in town too who have told me this and heard it from others. It doesn't matter anyway. It will be there by December.
William B Budner ESQ. August 16, 2012 at 06:55 PM
nice try "kent pride"
Joseph Hughes August 16, 2012 at 06:57 PM
"Some say" and "heard it from others" isn't an accurate gauge of anything other than conjecture. If that's the case, why have proponents of the N. Water St. location been outnumbered by those against the move there at every public meeting? You obviously represent the "silent majority," right?
Joseph Hughes August 16, 2012 at 06:59 PM
This line of reasoning must also come from the "Well, we've worked SO hard over the past few months - meeting as much as once a week - so you HAVE to let us move the house to N. Water St." theory of argument.
Fred Pierre August 16, 2012 at 06:59 PM
What a bitter fight. Mr. and Ms. Anonymous don't see any reason to compromise. I guess its either happiness for Kent Pride's friends, or happiness for the 500 or so people who have signed on to the petition to save the greenspace. So sad we can't find a compromise we can all support. Stubborn is as stubborn does I guess.
Fred Pierre August 16, 2012 at 07:00 PM
The sad things is we could lose the house because we can't come up with a constructive solution that we can all push for...
Joseph Hughes August 16, 2012 at 07:03 PM
If and when that happens, it falls squarely on KWSHI's shoulders for being poor team players.
David Badagnani August 16, 2012 at 07:06 PM
"Kent Pride," you are Richard Hawksley, right? I was under the impression you were an environmentalist.
Kent Pride August 16, 2012 at 07:16 PM
I do respect the environment yes but my name is Kent Pride and that is how I feel.
Joseph Hughes August 16, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Super mature behavior.
William B Budner ESQ. August 16, 2012 at 07:18 PM
yeh i sure "hope" it lasts through the fall semester party scene...especially halloween...but not likely.
Joseph Hughes August 16, 2012 at 07:25 PM
... to say nothing of the fact that this temporary home is dependent on the hope and prayer that it doesn't snow that badly before December 1, else the wrecking ball will come early when full-size plows need the road.
Kent Pride August 16, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I think I am quite mature honestly
Fred Pierre August 16, 2012 at 07:51 PM
I am proud of our community's history of working together to come up with constructive solutions, like our leveraging 20 million in federal stimulus to 100 million in investment in our downtown. Although the trolls may suggest otherwise, those of us who represent ourselves honestly can agree to work together toward a common vision.
Jim VandenBoom August 17, 2012 at 04:26 AM
3 o'clock break time is over, everyone back to work.
Jim VandenBoom August 17, 2012 at 05:00 AM
The emails Lisa refers to below were the attempts of Friends of the Garden and SRCA board members, to meet to discuss a commitment of SRCA assisting; with land maintenance, attendant hours and financial fundraising. These were the correspondences that were not responded to.
Beth Goran August 17, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Agreed, and I know that true cooperation and creativity can save both the house AND the green space!
Elaine Hullihen August 18, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Kudos to Mr. Sidoti in starting a conversation to find a solution that will protect the goals of both organizations. I am curious of the reasons in the change of the site plan that will move the Wells Sherman house closer to the sidewalk. Doesn't this change block Edwin George's mural? I thought this was an issue KWSH was concerned about? I would also like to hear more about the Franklin ave/W. College option. I thought this was previously unavailable. So many people go down there for the market, the Wells Sherman house could be one more Saturday stop and really add to that part of town. It seems to me that moving the house to a location that didn't cause such a controversy would garner more support and could lead to a richer, more thriving future for the Sherman House.
Balertwine August 20, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Sorry, "Kent Pride". You sound like some kind of hellbent dictator. Are you Ghadaffi? Mohammar Ghadaffi is my guess. "It doesn't matter anyway. It will be there by December." Hahahaha!!!! Well, Mohammar Pride, are you wrapped in the Kent flag as you are making these pronouncements? You are so certain of the future. let me tell you something from MY crystal ball: you're going to be run over by a Mack truck whose brakes failed on Main Street in November, so it won't matter, you won't even be here to see where the house is going to! So there, Mr. Smarty Pants. We'd like a little respect here, and there's NOTHING written in stone about this house, OK? You have your nose so high in the air a pigeon flew in it and built a nest.
Balertwine August 20, 2012 at 10:24 PM
And besides that, the Photoshop creations are distortions. Your pride in showing these to the community leads me to believe that perhaps these distortions were not accidental as I've assumed. The house in the make-believe illustrations on N. Water has been narrowed by 15%, causing the house to appear more like a storefront building than a wide residential building. This distortion is visible to the naked eye most obviously in the house windows. A person comparing a photo of the house unretouched to a photo of the house in the make-believe location can see the distortion. So, since I found it relatively easy to measure the distortion of the building, 15% narrower, with my Photoshop, I would suggest that before you shop around any further an inaccurate and possibly deliberate misrepresentation of this building, you correct the distortion.

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