TransPortage gets $15,000 Loan to Relocate Wells-Sherman House

Support, opposition voiced by crowd at Kent City Council meeting

One of several dominoes that needs to fall to save the historic Kent did just that Wednesday night at Kent City Council.

There are still a few more blocks to fall.

Council voted Wednesday to finalize a vote taken to loan $15,000 to the non-profit group TransPortage to relocate the house from 250 E. Erie St. to a plot of greenspace on North Water Street between and .

Kent State University has also promised to lend $40,000 to the effort to relocate the house. The house stands in the path of and must be moved this summer so construction can start.

Yet TransPortage still has to buy the land — a purchase agreement is in place — and get a line of credit to cover the other expenses associated with moving, renovating and bringing the house up to code. A copy of their estimated expenses is attached to this story.

And, perhaps more importantly, the Kent Planning Commission and Kent Board of Zoning Appeals have yet to vote on the site plan for the house as it would sit on the lot. They are expected to review the site plans in July, but the planning commission did hear last month.

But none of those issues really seemed to be at the forefront Wednesday. Instead, it was the more controversial issue of the potential loss of the green space that Standing Rock that people were talking about at the meeting.

About a dozen people on both sides of the greenspace issue spoke to council to air their concerns over the site TransPortage has said was one of about 12 locations considered for the house.

Jill Twark, a member of TransPortage, said they are hopeful to work with members of Standing Rock to use the space "to provide the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people" after the house is relocated there.

"This piece of land on North Water Street turned out to be … the best site for it, as disappointing as that may be to some people," she said.

Josh Goran, who said he has friends on both sides of the issue, leaned towards preserving the greenspace and finding another spot for the Wells-Sherman House.

"While I understand the value of historical architecture and preservation thereof, I believe preervation of the greenspace ... is a more needed concern," he said.

Kent architect Doug Fuller tried to be the voice of reason while supporting the relocation of the house to the lot.

"If there’s ever an opportunity that’s been crying out for a little cooperation between people, it’s this one," Fuller said. "This house is not a big house. There’s a tremendous amount of the site that’s left that with cooperation can be (used) together. The building will be an asset to North Water Street and it can be an asset to other people wanting to use it."

Council voted 6-2 to support lending the $15,000 to TransPortage. Councilmen John Kuhar and Wayne Wilson cast the two opposing votes with councilman Garret Ferrara absent Wednesday.

Kuhar said he voted against lending the financial support because the initial presentation to council about saving the house asked only for administrative support from city staff members.

"Now it’s turned into financial support," he said.

Like Fuller, Councilman Robin Turner urged the two groups, TransPortage and Standing Rock Cultural Arts, to find a middle ground.

"It is a situation where we’re under the gun right now," Turner said. "The hope is that the two groups right now can work together to see if we can make a benefit out of this for everyone concerned."

Native June 22, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Lisa, you do not know who I am and I resent your assuming that I am someone with whom you obviously have an axe to grind, but this has gone beyond being a productive discussion. You presume to accuse me of all kinds of heinous acts when you do not even know who I am or what, if any, involvement I have in this situation. Has it ever occurred to you that other people might have a say as well? Do you presume that only one person might wish to comment, someone with whom you have apparently had some verbal sparring? How dare you accuse me of being someone else when you know nothing about me, who I am or what involvement I may or may not have in this project. The only thing I will say is that I am affiliated with the university. Beyond that, I will say no more. You do yourselves no favors by continuing these useless attacks on supporters of the project. In point of fact, I can tell you that you are only hurting your cause instead of helping it. That is all I have to say. I am done trying to reason with you people.
Tina Puckett June 22, 2012 at 04:07 AM
I didn't directly reply to you nor state that you're Sally, but you appear to be quite defensive. As for denigration of SRCA, you might reread your comments from tonight & 6/16 in which you state that we are a "problem," "should stop complaining" and being "negative" or taking an "all or nothing approach" (what we call defending what we believe in), suggested we move out of town into a residential side-street neighborhood, and stated, "I wonder how many people even know that Standing Rock IS an art gallery...It does not strike me as particularly welcoming or inviting to walk by...I would not be inclined to visit" in comparison to better-funded galleries (KSU-backed & private for-profit). If this is not denigrating to a nonprofit that has worked very hard to do something good in the community, I don't know what is but you may want to brush up on those diplomatic skills. Also since we are "presumptuous to assume that (you're) directly involved," how can you determine what happens or invite a mediator in? You're narrowing your identity if you're able to make these decisions while not directly involved. I'm speaking out for what I believe. You don't have to agree. That's fine. I don't agree with your viewpoint & I'm fine with that. If you want to stop "continuing to argue" & have had enough of others' opinions that don't agree with yours, by all means, please feel free to stop. I notice that you stopped answering the important questions & concerns long ago (if ever).
Paxton Crenshaw June 22, 2012 at 04:10 AM
your last two sentences clearly reveal your identity, sally, as you have ended many other posts in the same way - it's really creepy how you've chosen to represent yourself. and creepier still that transportage has allowed you to represent them. seriously - i'm creeped out.
Tina Puckett June 22, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Every employee and student of the University is affiliated with the University. Just saying.
Native June 22, 2012 at 10:07 AM
I will reiterate that I am not who everyone thinks I am. I have no affiliation with TransPortage. I do not represent them, not do I speak for them. It's creepy that you are dragging someone into this and accusing me of being that person when you have no idea who I am. But you may go on believing what you will. That is, after all, your right. I will say no more. It serves no good to continue what has obviously become a pointless argument.
Lisa Regula Meyer June 22, 2012 at 10:23 AM
Then follow the TOUs on Patch and stop posting under a pseudonym. Simple solution. Transparency- it makes the world a much less complicated place.
Lisa Regula Meyer June 22, 2012 at 10:25 AM
I pointed out a simple fact that can be easily figured out by looking at two profiles and comparing them. People point out (false) coincidences between Lincoln and Kennedy all the time. Coincidences are just that, coincidences, and I don't remember a law barring pointing them out. I never said you were Sally.
Resident of Kent June 22, 2012 at 11:41 AM
I'll put my two cents in here... I think a better and more useful location would have been down by the Farmers Market. Plop it on a small piece of land right next to the train tracks and river- and being by the Market there- the public can walk in and browse city memorabilia !
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! June 22, 2012 at 12:41 PM
So what is your real name since it is a requirement on Patch?
Reader June 22, 2012 at 12:52 PM
I've been reading the comments here and it makes me very sad to see a lack of civility in the ongoing conversation. I think it would be most appropriate for the editor to step in and close this conversation before it becomes more heated than it has already become.
Tina Puckett June 22, 2012 at 12:58 PM
But seriously, let’s get back to the important questions, folks: Why is TransPORTAGE’s name attached to something their own members-and even some of the directors-oppose? In fact, why weren’t the membership and all of the directors informed (let alone in approval) prior to press on the coverage? Why is this project being supported given its direct opposition to TransPORTAGE’s own mission statement? Why did it take public outcry to even have intended plans re-reviewed to give any consideration to its current uses? Is it because of the media game (the ‘SRCA won’t negotiate or be reasonable’ stance) Why was the purchasing agreement for a space that’s been in use by a nonprofit organization for 20 years quickly and quietly drawn up before the organization that has been using it was even given a courtesy notice by those encroaching on its current permitted uses? Why was no transparency about any of the plans even given until after council initially approved a loan when it first appeared publicly in the Kent Patch after public and media outcry for more transparency? What funding is secured to insure that this project will be a success at the expense/destruction of these environmental gardens that have been tended organically for as long as 20 years (depending on the plot)? (to be continued...)
Tina Puckett June 22, 2012 at 01:02 PM
How is moving a few lawyers from downtown and putting in a TransPORTAGE office going to revitalize North Water Street or any neighborhood or bring in money when it’s introducing no new business to the area? Is the money worth running a self-proclaimed sustainable organization’s name through mud for individual stake and pride? How will the renovated house in the ownership of a sustainable organization be heated (fossil fuels, solar panels, etc)? What will be the rental fees and spaces? Why haven’t those speaking in support of the project indicated that this will be fee-based to its neighbors as well (which doesn’t matter except for transparency and non-misleading purposes since even if it were free, SRCA would not support the destruction of greenspace)? How much money will be needed to bring this house to code? Where is that funding guaranteed? Will the renovations ever truly allow the home to be registered as a historical home in the state of Ohio following the modern updates that have gone into it while it was a boarding house? How will maintenance, upkeep, and long term restoration be assuredly financed? If an organization can’t get its own members to agree on a move or project like this, shouldn’t the plan and individual interest versus group interest be rethought? Is the TransPORTAGE name attached merely to obtain the funding support behind the project for a few members interests? (to be continued)
Tina Puckett June 22, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Is the majority (or even half) of the money that is realistically needed secured in the bank and ready to support this project? Why are some sizeable figures still missing from the budget or listed as “not known”? Why are the only responses to legitimate intelligent probing questions to deflect to items that are not important or to denigrate a community-based, community-supportive nonprofit by attacking its owner’s (not SRCA for those who haven’t caught on to that from various posts) building, to attack the nature of a nonprofit to fund its money back into programming rather than vanity of a building that isn’t even in its ownership, to indicate that those with an opposing opinion should remain silent and not dialogue nor debate about what they feel is right, and to even go so far as to begin suggesting places for SRCA to move its location of 20 years in order to meet the needs or desires of an encroaching project or a few individuals? In fact, why all the defensiveness and lack of answers? ::Crickets chirp::
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! June 22, 2012 at 01:40 PM
I've seen much, much worse. This doesn't even have anything to do with elections. This is tame. Like fuzzy bunnies. People are allowed to disagree. So, reader, what is your real name? It wouldn't be Sally by any chance, would it?
Paxton Crenshaw June 22, 2012 at 01:55 PM
i think it's time for the editor to step in here and release sally brunell from her blogging duties with the patch. it's no coincidence that "native" uses exact, identical sentences to support her argument as sally has in the past. EXACT. sally should not enjoy the privilege of an on-line forum if she's going to subsequently log on under a pseudonym to further her cause.
Matt Fredmonsky June 22, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Let's try to keep the discussion on topic, which most people have done a great job of doing so far. Remember personal attacks violate Patch's terms of use and can warrant deletion of a comment. And posting under a pseudonym also violates our terms of use. Such posters have been reminded.
Lisa Regula Meyer June 22, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Final answer- There is a purchase agreement with a representative of TransPortage and on behalf of TransPortage, but they still may choose not to exercise that purchase agreement, at which point Mr. Arthur is willing to entertain other offers.
Chris (Kit) Myers June 22, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Matt, if they violate terms of use, why do you let them post? It ain't supposed to be an internet SoundOff, is it? Your reminders seem to fall on deaf ears to some people.
Gerald Elekes June 22, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I've talked to many media editors regarding TOS, as I am writing an article on "Anonymity and Animosity on the Internet." Many media sights don't apply TOS evenly across the board; there are many "public" examples of this. In reality, TOS can be used as a censorship tool. Scary if you think about the implications. In fact, I learned that while it is "asked that people commenting use their true identities, it is not actually strictly enforced." Likewise, there is no guarantee the name used is a person's actual name. And who is verifying all of this, running down IP addresses and doing background checks? Are the editors now asked to be LE officers and private detectives? It's way too broad in its scope at this point to be effectively monitored on a continual basis. Am I incorrect? The many posts I've read sure seem to back this fact up. Personal attacks, the use of obscenities, or the implication of-- i.e. BS-- the use of hate speech, etc. are all violations of TOS. Yet, the key words are "can warrant deletion of a comment." This is equivalent to "may," and does not represent an absolute. It is ultimately the editor's final decision. Correct? Who cares what name is used as long as it's legal-- no slander, defamation, identity theft? If a point or counterpoint is interesting, presented honestly, and relevant, the name pasted behind it is meaningless. Mark Twain might agree. Be happy someone will allow you to comment, and that others will actually read it. Mostly just be civil.
Joseph Hughes June 22, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Here's a question: Isn't TransPortage a non-profit? Well, being a non-profit comes with many, many legal requirements in terms of financial reporting, transparency, and consensus-reaching, to say the least. I can't say I've seen much by way of those requirements in this process, have you? Has anyone? And asking for these isn't a philosophical question, it's an actual, legal one. Now, if I'm wrong about this — and I may be — I'll stand corrected. But seems to me that if you're going the way of incorporating into a non-profit, you've got to abide by the established rules.
Fred Pierre June 22, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Joseph - a non-profit must register with the government, seek a status - usually 501(c)3 for a charity, 501(c)7 for a social organization, then file an IRS 990. Non-profits are typically set up as corporations, typically "C Corps." to protect individual members from financial obligations taken on by the group. Corporations that do not have Federal Status as a non-profit (501c3) file regular corporate income statements with the IRS and pay taxes on their income. 501(c)3 status allows an organization to collect tax-deductible donations.
Beth Goran June 22, 2012 at 06:00 PM
This. Exactly this. Not to mention that these plans have not been communicated with ALL of the members.
Beth Goran June 22, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Beth Goran June 22, 2012 at 06:09 PM
That would be fabulous if this could happen.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! June 22, 2012 at 06:35 PM
More appropriate. What a great idea.
Matt Fredmonsky June 22, 2012 at 07:13 PM
It's difficult to enforce, as there are so many comments daily and moderating comments is not my top priority as an editor. I use the reminders merely to try to keep the discussion civil and from going off topic and leading to insults, attacks, etc. I've found, in Kent at least, people who comment under their real names seem less likely to launch aggressive attacks against another reader than some of the people who comment under anonymous pseudonyms. The point of using your real name on a local site is that we're all neighbors here. @Gerald, I would love to read your paper. Commenting in online forums and articles is something that is in infant status really in terms of society's use of the internet, so it's still clearly evolving.
William B Budner ESQ. June 22, 2012 at 07:55 PM
huh? comments on the internet are as old as the internet... and regarding the TOS real name stuff... you have to be an idiot to use your real name on the internet, especially in a "small town community website" (term used loosely) where any yahoo who disagrees with you can find you pretty easy.
greg griffith June 25, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Readable Transportage bylaws at this link, just replace the 1 after the last underscore with 2 and so on. http://www.transportage.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/transportage-bylaws-8-18-11_Page_1.jpg
Sue JEffers June 28, 2012 at 01:25 AM
by all means, we need to knock down affordable housing (and move old houses) so the university can build an outrageously priced sidewalk. presumably all those college aged kids i see down at the bar must be from some other town, since students from ksu can't find their way with the normal pedestrian walkways. not digging the gentrification. perhaps once they replace green space with a house they can stick a bubble tea and skinny girl jeans store in it. i for one hope the city does not start making plans for n. water st. - i'd rather not have the neighborhood destroyed further.
Michael Pacifico July 10, 2012 at 06:09 PM
It is my beleif that the group was closed when some started making personal attacks against others.


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