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Kent's Courthouse, Fairchild Bridge and DuBois Property Are Also Changing the Landscape

This story is the fourth in a series about Kent's changing landscape

Kent's new courthouse

The search for a new courthouse finally came to an end in early August, when for the new location.  

The courthouse will eventually occupy the land at 303 E. Main St., where Sandwich Shop stands. Jimmy John's , but it will be forced to move elsewhere.  

Here are some numbers about the new courthouse project:

  • 2 acres of land 
  • Estimated 25,000 square feet for the new building
  • 135 parking spaces are proposed
  • $980,000 is the appraised value of the East Main Street property, which the city must buy to trade for the existing courthouse
  • Almost $3 million is in a county account for construction of the building

In an early August interview, Portage County Commisioner Tommie Jo Marsilio, who opposed the land swap idea, said the project needed to be in the better interest of the community before she could support it.

"Ultimately the taxpayers in the city of Kent and Portage County are not going to lose," Marsilio said. "My keen interest is for the taxpayers to come out at least neutral and preferably ahead, and I’m now convinced that under the circumstances that can happen."

The county hopes to have the groundbreaking sometime in 2012 for the new courthouse.

Fairchild and Crain Avenue bridges

The Crain Avenue Bridge awaits its demolition as its replacement, the Fairchild Avenue bridge, slowly takes shape.

The Fairchild Avenue bridge project began two years ago and is finally close to being completed. The new bridge is expected to open this fall, after which demolition will begin on the Crain Avenue Bridge. The old bridge will be replaced with a pedestrian span extending The Portage Hike and Bike Trail across the Cuyahoga River.

Throughout this many of the businesses around the new bridges have seen the construction unfold from the beginning. Patrick Flaningan wishes the project would have moved along more smoothly.

"In my estimation from what I have seen going on, they have jammed this project up too fast and the engineering struggled keeping up with what's actually here and what they find in print," Flaningan said.

The entire project is expected to be done by the end of 2012.

DuBois Bookstore property

One of Kent's most recognizable bookstores in late June. After 75 years of serving the city and , the DuBois family is planning to sell the land to a developer and are moving out of the old bookstore. A month earlier the store had won best bookstore on Fox 8's Hot List for the Akron-Canton area.

The owner of the store, Howard DuBois, said in a June interview that the changing book market made it tough to stay competitive.

"The book business, it's, I won't say grim, but it's tough," DuBois said. "Sometimes kids can go online and get them cheaper than we can from the publisher, which is impossible to compete against." Combined with the proliferation of E-readers and other devices, "It's a business that's in a real period of change."

The corner lot next to the store also is owned by DuBois. That land has been looked at as a prime piece of land during the redevelopment era in Kent and will likely be sold with the store. DuBois will continue to run his other branches of the bookstore in Cincinnati and Oxford, OH.

Editor's Note: Throughout this week, we take a look at some of the drastic landscape changes taking place in Kent this year and throughout the next several years.

We'll examine Kent's redevelopment as the projects progress. Click on the links below to see previous stories in this series.

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