Following a fire and vandalism at two vacant houses owned by Kent State University officials there are working to expedite the demolition of nine remaining vacant properties in the neighborhood west of campus.
Kent State spokesperson Eric Mansfield said the demolition of the houses has been bid and contracts are being prepared to be signed by the Ohio Attorney General.
"In light of the suspiscious fire, we are doing our best to accelerate the contracting process," Mansfield said.
Firefighters responded Saturday to a fully involved fire at 128 S. Lincoln St., one of 41 properties bought by the university to extend the Esplanade. The house was destroyed in the fire.
And just days earlier vandals smashed windows and kicked in the front door at 329 E. College Ave., another house bought by the university for the Esplanade project.
The university has already demolished several properties for the project.
Mansfield said abatement work at the remaining nine houses scheduled for demolition should start within the next two weeks.
Actual demolition should then start once abatement work is finished and should take about two weeks to raze the structures.