In the past four years structures across Kent's landscape have quickly been disappearing.
And 2012 was no exception.
The city issued demolition permits for 24 structures in 2012. That's the most in one year since 2009, when Kent started to see a sudden rush of construction work largely in preparation for the more than $100 million redevelopment of downtown under way now.
Here's how the number of razed structures spread out over the past four years:
- 2012: 24
- 2011: 11
- 2010: 19
- 2009: 23
That's 77 total buildings that were erased from the landscape permanently.
To be fair, that number includes some less than memorable buildings ranging from detached garages to condemned houses and even a vacant old motel.
But included in that massive pile of bricks was the old C.L. Gougler Machine Co. plant, which saw its historic smoke stack tumble into oblivion in April 2012.
That long gone pile of bricks also hides the dust from the former Kent Hardware store, which was replaced with the new AMETEK building. Kent also lost the Robin Hood Inn, another iconic, if run-down, landmark
In 2012, a majority of the razed structures, in fact more than half, were houses bought up and torn down by Kent State University for the Esplanade extension from campus into downtown.
In the early stages of Kent's revival demolition clearly outpaced new construction. But last year that turned around, and now new construction is rapidly outpacing demolition.
The city issued dozens of permits for new spaces last year. Many of those new spaces are suites in one of the several new buildings downtown.
Kent lost some structures in the past few years — perhaps more than its gained. But the gain that's really important is the people who now flock to the new spaces downtown and throughout the city.
Kent City Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer, whose Ward 5 includes downtown, said it best when describing the crowds in the city center at Wednesday's council meeting.
"I have to keep telling myself school’s out of session," she said.