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Opening of Esplanade Link Between Kent State, Downtown Delayed

Report: problems with new archway delayed opening of walkway

The archway on Kent State's new Esplanade under construction on Friday, Aug. 2, 2013. Credit: Matt Fredmonsky
The archway on Kent State's new Esplanade under construction on Friday, Aug. 2, 2013. Credit: Matt Fredmonsky
Optimistic officials at Kent State University—including President Lester Lefton—did not see the Esplanade open in July as some hoped.

Instead, the new pedestrian pathway linking the campus to downtown Kent's more than $100 million redevelopment block will likely open this month due to delays caused by the archway in the middle of the link, KentWired.com reports.
MJ August 05, 2013 at 08:42 AM
This was news *two weeks ago* when the Kent Stater first reported it. Now it's open. Actual reporting, please?
Matt Fredmonsky August 05, 2013 at 09:26 PM
The Esplanade is not yet open, and as of Monday the arch remained under construction.
Jon Ridinger August 05, 2013 at 11:10 PM
It's still under construction, but now it's minor things and the site is not blocked off like it had been, so in effect, it's open. As of Monday night, the scaffolding in the picture is gone and almost all of the fencing is down, lights are on at night, so people can walk on it with no problems. I was just on it about an hour ago.
Matthias P. August 06, 2013 at 09:22 AM
Well, what are your thoughts of it Jon? Does it meet your expectations?
Jon Ridinger August 06, 2013 at 09:51 PM
Overall I like it, but think it will be much better once it's getting regular use and when the new architecture building is built. I know KSU had plans to put a visitors center at the end of it by Haymaker Parkway, but I'm not sure that is still the plan. The grass is very nice (though is still growing or rooting in spots) and the walkway is well lit at night.
Chris (Kit) Myers August 06, 2013 at 11:35 PM
Yes, the grass looks very nice. However, "Excellence in Action" is not so apparent on Kent State property a hundred feet or so to the south. The University's lots on the Northwest corner of College and Willow resemble a cow pasture. The lot at 220 South Willow, where the May Prentiss house was parked for several months, has rolled up fencing, concrete pillars that held the house off the ground, a flock of orange cones, and other memorabilia, sitting right next to my driveway. I don't know whether or not you readers would like something like this right next to your houses, but I don't like for my tenants to have to put up with it. Drive by and look at it, City Manager Ruller. Drive by and look at it, Councilwoman Shaffer. How about it, Community Development and Zoning Departments. No ordinary citizen could get away with it. Double standards here in Kent? Apparently so.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! August 07, 2013 at 10:07 AM
"Speed Table" I'm curious how this ridiculous hump will handle the cities snow crews...
P. Craig Russell August 08, 2013 at 01:48 PM
The Esplanade is nicely done and it's been exciting to watch the construction. Years from now when the trees have reached maturity it will be a beautiful city greenspace. Having said that, I'd like to know who signed off on the awful lighting. Not the light fixtures but the lights. All the other new lighting downtown has a warm yellow glow to it, very welcoming. The Esplanade lighting is as cold as the lighting in a football stadium. Go downtown at night and compare the two. What a shame.
Chris (Kit) Myers August 08, 2013 at 02:14 PM
The esplanade is a lonely block. I suppose the bright lights are for safety purposes. I believe females would be better off to walk back to campus at night using the sidewalks on East Main Street.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! August 08, 2013 at 02:57 PM
P. Craig Russell, remember those trees are the same trees that, every few years, are replaced in downtown Kent because of drunk college kids. Now the drunk kids get their own esplanade to desecrate. I'm sure they'll have their limbs twisted and torn before they ever reach maturity.
Matthias P. August 23, 2013 at 04:35 PM
Keep in mind, Chris, those sidewalks on east main go through Kent's fraternity district which has been known to have intoxicated males shouting harassing statements at the women who walk on the sidewalks. Usually not the fraternity members, but those who attend the parties there.
Chris (Kit) Myers August 24, 2013 at 03:44 PM
Matthias. In which case the city should close most of the sidewalks downtown and have the city replace them with esplanades and close the bars, too. What evidence do you have that it is not usually fraternity members shouting harassing statements at women on the sidewalks?
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! August 25, 2013 at 08:39 PM
"Usually not the fraternity members". That is the most amusing statement I've read in a while. If it isn't the frat members, it's still their fault for holding alcohol parties where dudes get together to get trashed and forget about respecting a woman's right to be A WOMAN. Being born with a vagina shouldn't mean you have to be afraid of the little men with penises. But sadly, it does.
Chris (Kit) Myers August 25, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Matthias, I'm waiting for your evidence that it is usually not the fraternity members shouting harassing statements at women on the sidewalks. And have you called the police and reported it when you have seen and heard it happening in order to protect the women, not only from harassment, but also from possible bodily injury or even sexual assault?
Matthias P. September 06, 2013 at 11:01 AM
Sorry for the late response. No, I haven't reported verbal harassment to the police I've witnessed. Why? Because its extremely difficult to get someone charged with a crime because of yelling a few words at a pedestrian walking by. The individual on the end of verbal abuse would also need to make the complaint her/himself. I suppose I could sit and wait with the confrontation, wait for the police to arrive, have them tell their story, have the police make a decision whether it is worthy of a disorderly conduct/public intoxication charge or not. Then it is a game of hear-say. I feel that safety is a greater concern than charging someone with a crime, its best for the verbal abuse victim to continue to leave the scene with friends rather than wait around for the police. However, if someone was following someone down the street, I would indeed phone the police because I would believe someone's well-being may be in physical danger. Evidence that fraternity members don't harass people walking down the street? They do harass people, but a lot of them are also weary of certain actions like that create bad marks on the fraternity. They are constantly concerned about the fraternity getting kicked out of the University for poor behaviour. This is why official Kent fraternities do not have keg parties and avoid letting anyone have open cups due to the risk of individuals slipping drugs into drinks. However, if the fraternity members are not throwing a party at their official house or are just walking down the street, yes, they are known to harass people fairly often I agree.

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