With the arrival of warm weather, downtown Kent is starting to show off it’s best side.
Kent’s mix of something old and something new has given the downtown a second chance to be a point of hometown pride — a place where another generation of Kent visitors and residents can create memories that will make them fans for life.
A lot may have changed on the outside but it’s still the same downtown on the inside. It’s a place where people of all ages, backgrounds, nationalities and interests can mix and mingle in a way that is hard to find anywhere else. It’s a place custom made for people watching, casual dining, conversation, and raising a toast to celebrate our differences as much as our commonalities.
The new shops, outdoor patios, benches, landscaping, artwork and all-around great public space add up to a enjoyable, walk-able, and bike-able experience that is unmistakably Kent. Downtown Kent was designed with variety in mind and Kent’s characters come from all walks of life to get here. We know we’ve succeeded when people look around, smile, and say “only in Kent.”
The redevelopment of the downtown has won admiration and awards, turning up the volume of Kent buzz at kitchen tables, barbershops, and social media all over Ohio. As a result, thousands of people are re-discovering what makes Kent such a great community.
Kent’s rising popularity has put Kent back on the map and the our stores and restaurants make sure people keep coming back. Even our peer cities are coming into town to see what the excitement is all about and take home a few lessons learned.
We’ve hosted groups of elected officials and city staff from Medina, Bowling Green, Youngstown, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Team NEO, Hiram, and Aurora — and even groups from as far away as India and Azerbaijan. We make the tours a priority because it’s a chance to create a bunch of new loyal customers for our downtown businesses. It’s our way to pay our success forward.
It appears that Kent is no longer northeast Ohio’s best kept secret and I think I can speak on behalf of all our downtown businesses when I say that’s fine because we’re happy to share.
I’m also happy to share a link to a new Akron region tourism video titled “This Is Now” that I’m pleased to report includes a feature on Kent.