Kent’s had a great run in the last 5 years enjoying the fruits of project plantings that started 10-15 years ago.
It’s always exciting to watch projects come out of the ground, but today’s great projects spent a fair amount of time on the drawing boards in community meetings as yesterday’s long term plans.
That begs the question, what’s in the long range planning queue in Kent now that could be breaking ground in 2025?
The study offered useful insights into what’s needed to keep Kent’s neighborhoods strong — preserving home ownership, managing rental impacts, expanding active empty-nester housing, and re-energizing older established housing to attract the next generation of young families.
That’s a short list of the housing related topics that we’ll need to explore in the months and years that follow. How to inspire those types of projects to happen in Kent is the challenge of community meetings to come.
Unlike most of our suburban neighbors, Kent doesn’t have a lot of vacant land for builders to construct new housing on which is why so many of Kent’s housing priorities relate to refreshing the existing housing stock, threading the needle on smaller in-fill projects, and repurposing properties that have outlived their usefulness.
In the builder’s world, in-fill, repurposing, and reinventing tired housing stock presents many more obstacles (and costs) than “green” field development which is why it’s going to take some creative thinking, incentivizing, and packaging of possible deals to get the ball rolling by 2025 on these types of housing projects.
The good news is Kent’s “livability” rating is on the rise. Downtown Kent is a destination and some of those visitors like Kent so much that they’ve started looking around to see what it would take to live here and enjoy Kent’s amenities every day.
The local community bank executives have already noted that the Kent housing market has tightened up. The local mortgage business is booming and competition has quickened the pace of home sales in Kent.
Some neighborhoods sell better than others and the City’s goal is to make sure everyone, from first time buyers to active retirees and low income earners, all have options available to choose from.
That’s a tall order but we’re patient and we’ve seen how that persistence paid off in the downtown revitalization — so we’re optimistic that the same persistence will pay off in Kent’s neighborhoods too.
Images from City/KSU Joint Housing Summit and Presentation Materials