Attendance was steady throughout the day and the comments were overwhelmingly positive about the future possibilities for redevelopment in the “Mill District.” Here’s a sampling of written comments that we received:
– “It was so much fun to see what we can become!”
– “This event was so well organized it was fun to be part of the planning team. I am grateful for the opportunity and happy that the timebank was able to participate as well!”
Progress continues on planning for the N. Water Street Better Block event scheduled to be held on September 29th, so mark your calendars, the one month countdown has begun.
One bonus from all the recent interest in N. Water Street has been the local business owners starting to refer to N. Water Street as the “Mill District.”
Admittedly the Mill is closed but the iconic grain towers aren’t going anywhere soon so the Mill District brand should have plenty of life left in it.
Lots of interesting things gaining momentum in the Mill District — I’m excited to see what ideas will gain traction coming out of the Better Block event.
In the meantime, be sure to check out the Mill District web site that one of the local businesses put together. Great stuff.
If you haven’t driven by 1005 East Main Street recently, the new building on the former funeral home property has made a lot of progress this summer.
To my untrained construction eyes, it looks like most of the exterior is wrapping up but there’s still interior work that needs to be done.
At this point, the only tenant that we’re aware of is Starbucks, but there’s room for 2 other small businesses in the building.
I’m grateful that the look of the building, with a mix of brick, siding, lots of glass, and an angular roof line with dormers is attractive, and it seems to strikes a reasonable balance between a commercial and residential feel which is important since it sits on the dividing line between those uses.
When the private developer first announced his plans for the property after he purchased it, there were a lot of concerns raised by the adjacent neighborhood over the prospect of added traffic due to the proposed new Starbucks tenant — particularly since it will have a drive-thru window.
Those concerns, combined with KSU’s newly announced plans for a new gateway entrance to campus off of Haymaker Parkway — and the City’s longterm desire to improve traffic safety in this corridor — led the City Engineer to create a neighborhood working group to pool ideas and find some neighborhood based solutions to minimize prospective adverse traffic impacts.
The neighborhood working group has had a number of meetings and the City Engineer recently sent around a summer update that I’ve shared below.
It’s been a couple of months since we last met and I wanted to let everyone know what has been happening. In regards to hiring a consultant to assist in looking at the area, we have short listed to 3 firms and will be interviewing them next week. It has taken some time just coordinating schedules to get to this stage. Once the interviews are complete, we will negotiate a fee with the selected company and enter into an agreement. After that, they will be assisting us on continuing the planning of the project.
Kent State is still working on the selection of the team for the business building as well as the parking facility. Kelvin sent out an email about a month ago with an update. To my knowledge, nothing significant has changed since then.
I am working on summarizing the issues presented at our last meeting. The information will eventually create our Purpose and Need Statement which will guide us as we move forward through the process. Also, we are working on our Capital Budget for next year and I am recommending that we budget enough funds to get us to the stage where we are submitting for grants to help fund the improvements.
I apologize that things aren’t moving faster. Summer construction season is our busiest time and it has kept our staff running around dealing with construction issues that can’t be delayed. Speaking of construction, Summit Street has opened for good. In response, we will periodically check to see how that impacts traffic volumes along East Main Street. Lastly, I know Kent State has been busy preparing for the start of the semester yesterday which has impacted their work schedules.
Thank you again for volunteering your time and I will let you know as soon as we are ready to meet again to discuss the summary of needs as well as other things.
Northeast Ohio’s regional economic development agency, Team NEO, spent an afternoon in Kent, taking in the sites and sounds of Kent’s economic revitalization.
It’s always an honor to be recognized for doing good work so after a warm welcome from Mayor Fiala, Tom Wilke and Bridget Susel provided an inside look at what has transpired over the last 8 years in downtown Kent.
Kent State University was in the house too since downtown Kent is a product of the Town/Gown partnership.
After the introductions, the group toured downtown Kent — and hopefully they enjoyed it enough to keep coming back for more.