Officials at agreed today to pay $315,000 for a house on South Lincoln Street that could be one of the last land buys for the Esplanade extension.
The Kent State University Board of Trustees voted this afternoon to buy the house at 122 S. Lincoln St. from the Joseph N. Murray Trust.
The house is likely one of the last pieces of property to be bought for construction of the sweeping pedestrian pathway that will link the campus to the major redevelopment projects under way downtown, including the new .
The Esplanade extension will travel directly west from the atrium of the to Haymaker Parkway, where it will meet a new stop light at the intersection of Erie Street, the new hotel and 's Kent Central Gateway .
"You will be looking at Franklin Hall when you walk out of the hotel," Kent State University President Lester Lefton said. There will be this big, park-like setting with tall gates that read 'Kent State University' on them."
In March, when the university bought two more properties for the project, Lefton said there were only a few left the university was interested in for the Esplanade extension.
Construction is scheduled to start within weeks on the extension, for which the university spent more than $8 million — counting today's purchase — buying land in the neighborhood west of campus since 2007.
Excluding today's buy, the university owns 33 properties in the neighborhood that have been bought in the past five years. Six more properties are pending transfer of ownership to the university or state approval for the expenses.
Physically, the Esplanade will leave the campus and weave a wide pedestrian path towards downtown lined with open landscaping through the neighborhood.
The project has been as the university bought properties in the neighborhood so its on-campus leg of The Portage Hike and Bike Trail could link to downtown Kent. It ran into a slight complication this spring while city and university officials tried to determine if has historic ties to the city and should be spared demolition.
Tom Euclide, Kent State's associate vice president for facilities planning and operation, said about 12 of the houses that are still standing and in the path of the Esplanade will be demolished this summer as part of the construction.