I took a look back at the West River Revitalization earlier this week because it’s a great turn-around story that’s not quite done turning yet.
Over the last couple of months there’s been a grass roots effort to get enough signatures from neighborhood residents to get a vote in the next election (November) to allow alcohol to be sold in a proposed new micro-brewery/brew-pub that is proposed to open in the building that currently houses the Dale Adams car restoration business.
Mr. Adams sent a letter out to all his neighbors reporting that he’s reached an age where he wants to scale back his car restoration business and he’s got a new restaurant prospect that would like to be tenant in the building.
Experience has shown that restaurants can’t survive on food alone — customers like to have a little wine or beer to go with their meal — but that neighborhood is “dry” which means no wine or beer can be sold without going to the voters for special approval.
Mr. Adams and his prospective tenant have taken the first step and submitted the required signatures to the Portage County Board of Elections to get the alcohol sale request on the November ballot.
In the meantime, I dug through our old files and found some examples of the kinds of redevelopment that the City leaders had in mind back in the 1990’s when they first started buying the old blighted properties to make way for some new stuff.
It turns out that Mr. Adam’s idea of converting his restored building into an iconic restaurant with outdoor seating that overlooks the river (and the hike/bike trails) was an idea that came up 20 years ago — and now it seems like it’s an idea who’s time has come.
Mr. Adams hasn’t provided too many details about his prospective restaurant tenant but we’ve been told that it’s a proposed partnership with the current owner of the Bistro On Main who has built a loyal following for top shelf food and drink, and great atmosphere, that has made the Bistro into a destination dining hot spot.
The Bistro formula for success seems like it’s ready to take a jump into the brew-pub concept that we’ve heard being tossed around for the Dale Adams building. Everything about Kent seems to scream brew-pub, and places like Ray’s and Water Street Tavern have definitely tapped into the craft brew and fine food mix, but no one has jumped in with both feet and taken home brewing to a commercial scale in Kent yet.
After getting a taste of Kent’s craft beer potential with the Sierra Nevada interest in Kent 3-4 years ago we’ve talked to a half dozen different craft brewing companies within (and outside) northeast Ohio to see if we could stir up some interest in a Kent location. Even though we didn’t land anybody yet we were encouraged by the interest and while a brew-pub isn’t on the scale of a craft brewery, it would be a great start.
Based on the positive feedback we were getting from possible craft brewers we identified the West River corridor as a prime location for a small brewery operation and we had an architectural firm put some ideas together for us to see if we could stir up interest. Here’s a look at how an architect thought a brew pub or small craft beer production facility could fit along the river in the West River corridor.
Keep in mind that these are just fun-filled ideas to generate interest at this point in time.