At the risk of being proven wrong by some unexpected “punch list” item, I believe the finish line is in sight for Kent’s new Police Building.
The contractors buttoned-up the exterior of the building just before the cold weather hit and now they’re making final touch ups on the interior space in anticipation of turning over the keys to the City in the next couple of weeks.
The landscaping and exterior features gave the building a great finished look and once the construction focus shifted to the interior, the contractor was able to work double shifts, and that had a noticeable impact in the rate of their progress.
Here’s some photos of the new building:
Once the keys are turned over to the City, the City’s Service Director (who doubles as our Facilities Manager) will work with Police Chief Lee to manage the transition of the Police employees to their new home in January.
At this point, it looks like the administrative and patrol functions would move first and then once they get settled, the dispatch functions would follow.
It’s likely that the my office and the Law Director’s Office would stay put in the old Police building for another month or so until the Police staff transition was finished — and then we’d arrange to move into some unoccupied area of the new building on a temporary basis.
In February we will go through the old Police building to identify items for sale at a surplus auction that we’d look to hold in the March – April time frame. Once the surplus items have been removed and sold, we would hire a demolition contractor to demo the old building.
With the return of Spring weather in April – May, we’re hoping to offer a couple of dates and times to host a community open house of the new Police Station and give residents a chance to see their new Police facility up close and personal.
In conjunction with those open houses we would also plan a formal dedication ceremony and let the Mayor do one more of his famous ribbon cuttings.
Then it’s on to the new City Hall project.
Grab a hammer and a nail.
Kent City Council members had a chance to walk through the new Police Station building last week for the first time since the ground breaking in July 2016.
It was an impressive tour.
With a lot of help from the project management team, the building is on budget and on schedule to be complete by the end of this year — and it’s on track to be LEED Certified Silver — a very nice environmental feather to have in Kent’s cap.
An important building at a prominent corner that is designed to accentuate all of the good stuff going in downtown Kent. You couldn’t ask for anything better.
After the walk through, I’m more confident than ever that the building will achieve all of those ambitions.
That’s not to suggest that the construction hasn’t had it’s routine share of surprises — it has, just ask the project manager and watch her teeth start to grind.
There’s no such thing as a surprise-proof building (especially of this size and customization required of a high security building like a Police building) — but the key is how well you respond, and so far so good.
In a municipal facility that houses it’s public safety personnel and the local jail, not surprisingly the building places a high value on high-end security measures.
But — and this is an important qualifier — the best Police Stations are the ones that provide high security and still figure out how to provide a high-touch welcoming experience to the community members that choose to stop by and visit — rather than the ones that we escorted into the building.
By design, the new building intentionally seeks to give the best customer service experience possible to both sets of our customer base and I’m impressed by how well those functions can co-exist under a single “roof.”
I’m anxious to see this building in action as I think it will be a dramatic shift from the current 90 year old building which as made in an era when the goal was to keep people out and others in.
It’s time to expect more out of our Police building and I think we’re about to get it.
One community. One hometown. One Kent.
Kent is one of the most popular destinations in northeast Ohio. Our unique shops, entertainment venues, and eateries play a big part in that draw — but the real star of the show is the diverse mix of people that share our hometown with us.
The downtown has turned out to be a great way to showcase Kent as the global village that it is. Which is why the national debate over immigration laws and sanctuary cities has been so troubling. Where Kent has worked so hard to pull people together, the national debate seems intent upon pulling people apart.
The debate has led Council to try to understand exactly what it means to be a “sanctuary city” — and more importantly to evaluate what impact a “sanctuary city” designation would have on people’s lives in Kent.
It’s been clear from Council’s remarks that they are most concerned about what they can do to improve the lives of people in Kent on a daily basis, rather than worrying about adopting the label of a sanctuary city which may or may not have any meaningful impact beyond choosing a side on a politically polarizing national issue.
I admire City Council’s patience as they try to sort through the inflammatory nature of this issue with a conscious decision to keep the focus on people rather than politics. If it turns out that adopting a sanctuary city designation is important to the Kent community, I’m sure Council will step up, but in the meantime they have chosen to put people first by announcing the One Kent initiative which has the potential to be far more impactful for the Kent community than anything we’ve done in generations.
In April Council released an Open Letter to the Kent community re-affirming their commitment to tolerance and support for everyone that calls Kent home. The statements made in that letter were intended to clearly demonstrate Council’s unwavering support for tolerance regardless of what the future may hold for the political label of a “sanctuary city.”
April 14, 2017
OPEN LETTER: No place for intolerance in public policy
Over the course of the last year the Mayor and Members of the Kent City Council have watched with growing concern as the debate over immigration law has at times sounded like a call for a nationally sanctioned intolerance policy in the name of public safety.
As a City Council, we feel compelled to make a strong public statement against intolerance and argue that public safety in our community has always been stronger when we stand united, not divided.
Public safety is paramount to the City of Kent’s mission to protect and serve all equally — and never at the expense of the rights and liberties of people that may not fit a particular profile for what they look like, what they believe, or where they’re from.
Throughout history intolerance has proven to be bad public policy and a prescription for failure. The Kent community endured a tragedy in 1970 to learn that lesson and we will not let that lesson be forgotten.
This emotionally charged issue has become a flashpoint, testing the very foundation of what it means to be a community. As a Council we recognize our differences as our most valued and vital attributes. Kent’s strong sense of community is because of our differences, not in spite of them.
Many faces, names and cultures have shaped Kent through the years, making the community stronger and more resilient thanks to a diverse population that contributes its own customized blend of skills, insights and experiences to meet the endless challenges of serving the public good.
Our ability to rise to the next challenge is rooted in a belief that whatever we do, we do it better when we do it together. Kent has relied on talented people from all walks of life to step up to support their community, and as Kent’s leadership we’re proud to take our turn now to rally the community behind our people.
As home to Kent State University, the small town of Kent Ohio is blessed with an abundant mix of people. Kent’s story is about people living, learning, connecting and growing together, celebrating their differences with enthusiasm, secure in their shared sense of community.
Not everyone can speak all of the languages heard in Kent but shared space is a great teacher, revealing the universality of a smile, a wave, a nod of appreciation, or a laugh. We have shared personal moments that needed no translation, and we’ve seen personal connections lead strangers to become neighbors, and neighbors to form a community.
From its early pioneer days to May 4, 1970, and into 2017 with a growing international population, Kent has been a small community with a big impact. Whether it’s changing the course of a war or working to change the world, Kent has a reputation as a place that makes a difference. The difference maker in Kent has always been its people. That will never change.
Jerry T. Fiala, Mayor & President of Council Garret Ferrara, Council Member, Ward 1 Michael DeLeone, Council Member at Large Jack Amrhein, Council Member, Ward 2 Melissa Long, Council Member at Large Robin Turner, Council Member, Ward 3 Roger Sidoti, Council Member at Large John M. Kuhar, Council Member, Ward 4 Heidi L. Shaffer, Council Member, Ward 5 Tracy Wallach, Council Member, Ward 6
A little late season warm weather was a great reason to get out and have a family picnic in downtown Kent.
That’s a keeper.