I stopped by to check in on the progress of Ron Burbick’s Phoenix Project on Main Street and I’m pleased to report that he’s got things rolling. Scaffolding is up, hammers are hammering and construction dumpsters are being filled. Ron always said that once he makes up his mind to do something he doesn’t mess around, he just goes out and gets it done. He’s proving his point once again with this $6 million renovation. Every time I see him he tells me that he just landed another new tenant, and sure enough he added another one to the list on Friday. Part of Ron’s motivation in this project was to show that if you make quality space available at the right price point retailers will come knocking and with phases 1 & 2 just about fully leased within the first month of renovation I’d have to say he’s punctuated his point with an exclamation mark. Go Ron Go!
I know Ron’s had a few health issues to deal with this year but you’d never know it these days, this project has put the spring back in his step. He’s wheeling and dealing to do his part in downtown Kent and his excitement for what he’s doing is contagious. He’s passionate about downtown Kent but rather than talk about it he’s putting his money to work to show it.
Anyone that knows Ron expected no less. He’s been a success in everything he’s done. He’s a straight talker who never settles for less. That spirit has allowed he and his wife to make the Burbick Foundation into Kent’s most philanthropic organization. Ron and his wife’s fingerprints are on almost all of our most cherished Kent projects and if you search Ron’s name in the Record Publisher archives you’ll see that he’s been honored with everything from the Chamber’s Public Service Award to Robinson Memorial’s Distinguished Service Award and everything in between.
Ron’s a practitioner of tough love with his projects and he doesn’t suffer bureaucracy easily. He’s more of a damn the torpedos full speed ahead sort of guy. That means there are times when he lets me know how we could do things better as a city in no uncertain terms. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
And neither would Mayor Fender who wrote the following letter to the editor that sums up the City’s appreciation for everything Ron and his wife have done in our community.
Thank you, Ron Burbick and the Burbick Foundation, for being a major force in the renovation of our historic downtown district. The $6 million Burbick Phoenix Project not only will greatly enhance the image of Kent, it also will be a catalyst for additional investors.
As some of you may know, Mr. Burbick, a retired Schneller Inc. executive, is very active in supporting numerous local organizations that improve our community’s quality of life. These include Main Street Kent, Leadership Portage County, the Rotary Club of Kent, Family & Community Services, Coleman Professional and the Children’s Advocacy Group, just to name a few.
Mr. Burbick, I, along with many others, appreciate your commitment to our city as we forge ahead with many future projects. I’m reminded of a quote by John F. Kennedy: “There are risks and costs to programs of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.” Your actions and investment in our community will yield tremendous returns in years to come.
On behalf of a grateful community, I offer our thanks for your ongoing contributions and leadership that will continue to transform our town and greatly enhance the vibrancy of the heart of our community, our historic downtown.
Mayor John Fender