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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."

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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