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UPDATE: Former Hillel Site Unlikely Location for Wells-Sherman House

Kent State has no immediate plans to swap or sell North Lincoln property

Editor's note: this story was updated at 1:54p.m.

The former site of the Hillel at Kent State University on North Lincoln Street may not be the premiere alternate site for the Kent Wells Sherman House some want it to be.

Jeff Ingram, director of Standing Rock Cultural Arts, suggested this week the vacant lot at 202 N. Lincoln St. would be a better fit for the historic Kent house than the space at 247 N. Water St. — next door to SRCA.

Ingram made the suggestion at Wednesday's Kent City Council meeting and suggested university officials might be willing to work with the city to use the land for the Kent Wells Sherman House.

Tom Euclide, Kent State’s associate vice president for Facilities Planning and Operations, said Ingram may have misconstrued an email conversation they had.

"We’re not making any deals with him or the Sherman House folks," Euclide said. "I told Jeff Ingram that the university is working solely with the city. The city has not asked us for any land. That’s not to say we wouldn’t entertain an invitation to be involved."

Euclide said the university would only entertain a request from the city — Kent State's partner in redeveloping part of downtown — to either sell the land or swap it for another piece of property and would not work directly with either non-profit organization on the issue.

Euclide added that the university has no plans to do either.

"We did not offer the land," he said. "We said we would entertain it if a request came. He took my encouraging words and turned them into a promise."

Ingram said Friday in an email that he understands the action would have to take place between the city and university.

"I in no way intended to suggest a deal between either SRCA and the University nor between KWSH and the university," Ingram said.

In a document distributed to council members Wednesday Ingram suggested the city swap or buy the land from the university and then donated it to KWSH. That document is attached to this article.

However, Kent City Council took no action on Ingram's request Wednesday and members of KWSH say there's not enough time before the Dec. 1 demolition deadline to secure the North Lincoln Street site in time to move the house from its temporary location on East College Avenue.

The movement of the house to 247 N. Water St. is all but a certainty, as the project already received approval from the Kent Board of Zoning Appeals, the Kent Architectural Review Board and the Kent Planning Commission.

Members of the Kent Wells Sherman House Inc. board have discounted the site as inappropriate for the house and strife with legal obstacles to such a move.

Ann Ward, a member of the KWSH board, said they never originally considered the North Lincoln Site because it's not in a commercial zoning district, which is what the house needs in order to have an upstairs business tenant.

She suggested the community accept the situation and move forward and that both Standing Rock and KWSH find a way to cooperate.

"The conflict between both of these non-profit organizations has taken its toll on many," Ward said.

Misty Jones September 22, 2012 at 01:46 AM
What is this talk about KSU paying for leveling the land? No one even said that. How long did it take for KWSH to go through the process before? Four months from scratch with dissenters pushing against them the whole way? There's time. There'd be more time if KWSH looked around when the house was given more deadline.
Misty Jones September 22, 2012 at 01:52 AM
I'm glad you did. I read it and saw "run by private individuals and the decision making process is not a matter of transparency or opaqueness." I still don't know the actual committed uses, how they plan to pay for all of it, or who will staff it. I don't see any rental fees for the public and private groups. I see discrepancies with the university statement and this sounds like part of the blame game: "While our efforts have been met with resistance and personal attacks, we too have been less than civil."
Pax Crenshaw September 22, 2012 at 01:58 AM
here's your chance, matt, to show us what you've got as a journalist. an in-depth examination of this entire affair would be a great read and fun to write. meet with and explore the personalities/players from both sides (hawksely, burnell, ingram), interview council members, townies, etc. ask not only the right questions, but also ask tough questions, and then get the facts. you could really put together a thorough and unbiased article that reads less like a newsbite or propaganda piece and more like something you'd read in vanity fair or playboy. step it up a bit! a few well-researched stories each week would do way more for your site, our community (and probably readership) than an article on "football anthems that get you pumped". ish.
William B Budner IV ESQ. September 22, 2012 at 02:02 AM
agreed.
Sue September 23, 2012 at 10:44 AM
Thanks to Fred Pierre for urging folks to be civil and for supporting Matt in his effort to promote open and productive discussion.

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