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Kent's Redevelopment Earns Economic Development Award

Downtown Kent's redeveloped Erie Street in August 2013. Credit: Matt Fredmonsky
Downtown Kent's redeveloped Erie Street in August 2013. Credit: Matt Fredmonsky

Kent received a Silver Excellence in Economic Development Award for its 2012 project in the category of Public-Private Partnerships for communities with populations of 25,000 to 200,000 from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held Oct. 6 through Oct. 9, in Philadelphia.

“The Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize City of Kent, Ohio as being one of the leading organizations in the industry for innovation, creativity and successful strategies,” said IEDC chair Paul Krutko. “These awards are meant to honor the organizations and individuals who are dedicated to making a positive change in their communities.  This organization uses creative solutions and inventive ideas, and offers other regions a wonderful example to learn and benefit from. The award represents an acknowledgment and appreciation for city of Kent, Ohio’s dedication to continuous growth within itself, as well as improving the industry overall.”

The city of Kent, in conjunction with its development partners, created a $110 million revitalization project that will serve the city, Portage County and the greater Northeast Ohio region. The public, private partnership includes the city, Kent State University, The Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority, Fairmount Properties, The Pizzuti Companies and Phoenix Properties.

The project covers three city blocks, includes over 250,000 sq. ft. of new mixed use space, the new Kent State Hotel & Conference Center (94 rooms and conference space for 300), the Esplanade connecting the campus to downtown and the new municipal courthouse under construction. Fifty new businesses have opened downtwn, including two corporate anchor tenants Davey Tree Resource Group and AMETEK.

A third corporate anchor tenant, The Smithers-Oasis Company, also committed to relocate to downtown Kent in October of this year.

The project has produced 969 construction jobs and will boast 700 to 800 permanent new jobs in Kent’s Central Business District.  This project used Tax Increment Financing, Downtown Kent Corporation (CIC) land banking, state, federal and local investments, a $20 million Federal FTA TIGER Grant, an Ohio 629 Infrastructure grant, ODOT Jobs & Commerce ED Program Funding, CLG/Historic Preservation dollars and Clean Ohio CORF funding.

IEDC's Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. These awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities.

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