I’m told that the new outdoor patio seating at the Treno restaurant in downtown Kent is just about complete and ready to see some dining action.
It looks great, and with nice weather, I’m sure it will be as popular outside as it’s been inside.
Before the City rolls-in to a neighborhood with the asphalt milling and paving machines, the Engineering Department will check the condition of the curbs, gutters and sidewalks on those streets to schedule those repairs in advance of the street repairs.
The idea is that streets, curbs, gutters, and sidewalks all work together to ensure safe driving, safe walking, and proper stormwater collection — so if you’re going to fix one, you need to make sure the rest of the team is in decent working condition as well. Plus, if you’re going to be in the neighborhood fixing stuff, let’s fix as much as we can while we’re there.
The City picks up the tab on the asphalt and a fair amount of the concrete work too, but the concrete work requires a little more house by house analysis to comply with the City Code which has a range of scenarios that split the concrete costs with the property owner.
Typically the City Engineers will try to coordinate the concrete work the season before the asphalt work is scheduled to be done. As they make their rounds, they take notes on what needs to be repaired, they figure out how much the job will cost, and then refer to the City Code to calculate how much the City will pay and how much the homeowner is expected to pay.
Once they’ve run those calculations, Engineering then mails letters to the effected homeowners to let them know the plan and to give them a first look at their projected cost.
The homeowner may have options available to reduce their costs — example, if the house is owner occupied, City Council has authorized a 50% reduction in the homeowner’s share of the bill, and if the owner can demonstrate that they fall into a “low to moderate income” category, City Council has authorized Engineering to pick up 100% of the costs.
Also, if they’re handy, homeowners can also save some money by doing the concrete repair work themselves or they may use a contractor of their choice.
The idea is to provide options for homeowners who would love to have the repair work done but may not necessarily have budgeted for the repairs.
Right now Engineering has mailed letters out to the next round of homeowners in line for concrete repairs so I thought it was a good time to review the process.
If anyone is uncertain of what to do, the best bet is to contact Pat Homin, City Engineering Technician, to talk through the options with him in person. His number is (330) 678-8106.
Welcome Home to Your Kent Neighborhoods
With tree lined streets, sidewalks, neighborhood schools and parks, Kent feels like home no matter where you’re from.
Kent offers a great mix of downtown living, charming turn of the century homes, and all the modern conveniences of new suburban centers in neighborhoods that are as diverse and surprising as the people that live in them.
Each neighborhood brings a look, a style, and a personality all its own – offering unique places to do what you do best.
Those neighborhood comments come from a new City of Kent Neighborhoods Guide that was developed to promote the names, places and faces of Kent’s many unique neighborhoods.
The idea of a City of Kent Neighborhood Guide came from the adage that “to know us is to love us” and the belief that the more people know about Kent’s neighborhoods the more excited they’ll be to live here.
If they already live here, the Guide might even instill a stronger sense of neighborhood identity and neighborhood pride.
It turns out that some of Kent’s neighborhoods are well organized, some are loosely connected, and others aren’t really organized at all. We hope that by working together we can change that.
A vibrant downtown is great but it’s neighborhoods that make a community a place people want to call home and that’s why over the last 10 years Kent City Council has put a lot of focus on adding ways to better protect neighborhoods and preserve the small town neighborhood feel that is unmistakably Kent.
The Guide tries to highlight the best of Kent’s neighborhoods with maps, photos and friendly neighborhood descriptions. Here’s a few samples:
The Davey Neighborhood
Steeped in tradition, the historic Davey Neighborhood is home to many of the most notable homes in Kent. Built in the mid to late 19th century, these homes exemplify a charm that never goes out of style. Majestic trees, glimpses of former historic brick streets, and classic period architecture mix to create a neighborhood that is unequalled in personal touches and tradition. A neighborhood school, and a short walk to the river trails and downtown, has put the Davey Neighborhood at the top of the list for most desired locations for Kent families of all ages.
The Vine and Summit Street Neighborhoods
Nestled along the eastern edge of the Kent State University campus these classic “college town” neighborhoods offer a great mix of rental and owner occupied properties that are home to an internationally diverse mix of faculty, students, and residents that enjoy small town charm with a global village feel. Tucked between Kent State University and the University Shopping Plaza, these neighborhoods are ideal for people that want to live where they can walk to the store, to campus, or to nearby downtown Kent.
The South End Neighborhood
The South End Neighborhood holds a special place in Kent history as home to many of the early trades-workers that built Kent into the largest rail yard between Chicago and New York. The rail yards have come and gone but the neighborhood remains a culturally vibrant community with some of Kent’s most diverse groups sharing neighborhood churches, parks, and back yards. Quiet streets and affordable homes in walking distance to the Cuyahoga River, community parks, shopping, downtown Kent, and the Kent State campus makes the South End a timeless destination.
The Riverbend Neighborhood
Prominently located along the banks of the Cuyahoga River, Riverbend is a premier suburban styled neighborhood with natural and architectural beauty in abundance. Convenient neighborhood kayak and canoe access to the river and a trailhead connection to the Portage Hike & Bike Trail, provides residents with unparalleled outdoor recreational opportunities out their back door. This remarkable cul-de-sac community is across the street from the Kent Roosevelt High School making it a top choice among families with school aged children.
The University Heights Neighborhood
University Heights is a showcase for Kent’s famous tree-lined streets, mature landscaping, and well maintained homes in a quiet neighborhood that has been the choice of University faculty and families for decades. The short walk to campus makes the commute to work feel like a walk in the park with the occasional deer sighting and plenty of Kent’s iconic black squirrels to round out the neighborhood’s natural habitat. Best of all, the remarkable tree canopy provides summer shade and unbeatable fall foliage.
The Crain to Main Neighborhoods
The Crain to Main Neighborhoods are some of the most active and vibrant neighborhoods in the City. With downtown Kent at one end of the neighborhood and Kent State University at the other, there’s always something going on right around the corner. The streets closest to campus tend to be home to more college students while the north side of Crain Avenue attracts more families and retirees. There’s something for everyone in the Crain to Main Neighborhoods which is why it has been so popular for so long.
The Guide features 16 of Kent’s larger and more commonly identified neighborhoods but we know there’s plenty more and we welcome your input. You can download the guide or contact Harrison Wicks in the City Manager’s Office at (330) 676-7500 for hard copies of the Neighborhood Guide or to share your favorite neighborhood story.
As I’ve mentioned previously, Kent City Council is rolling out some community wide initiatives over the next couple of years — One Kent, BiCentennial Plan Update, Zoning Code Update — that will provide greater opportunities for neighborhood input and more neighborhood based planning.
We figure the more we can do now to help neighborhoods see themselves as neighborhoods and think like a neighborhood the greater the probability for success of those initiatives.
In the big picture, the Guide is one of a series of steps we’re taking to help residents feel more connected to their City which we hope will lead to more engagement, and result in stronger, more livable neighborhoods.
I think that’s a goal we all share.
With all the new miles of hike and bike trails in Kent, and outdoor friendly weather finally settling in to northeast Ohio, it’s perfect timing for the unveiling of two of the City’s most recent additions to support your outdoor enjoyment: a water bottle refilling station and bike self-help repair station.
These are small but hopefully impactful additions to the Kent scene. They’re both located in downtown Kent — the water bottle station at the Hometown Bank plaza and the bike repair station down at the end of the bike trail where it connects to Franklin Street, across from the Haymaker Farmer’s Market.
My cell phone photos don’t do either justice, so I’ve copied an article from the Record Courier that gives you both the details and a much better photo.
By Kelly Maile / Reporter
Posted Jun 3, 2018 at 12:01 AM Updated at 10:38 AM
The city of Kent is providing two new services to pedestrians and cyclists this summer.
Kent City Engineer Jim Bowling said the new water bottle filling station on North Water Street next to Hometown Bank is a “multitasking” project that will fulfill two needs.
“Every year, providing water to vendors at festivals is important,” he said. “In addition, having a more walkable area means you see lots of people walking around with water bottles.”
The water bottle filling station, he said, was purchased through the city and was modified by workers in the city’s central maintenance department. During the Heritage Festival, Bowling said, vendors can connect hoses to the pipes inside the station. Previously, the only way to provide “clean potable water” to those vendors was to connect hoses to the city’s fire hydrants.
“It fulfills two needs,” he said. “It’s a multi-tasking thing.”
The Fixit bike repair station is located at the sandstone seating area under the Haymaker Bridge on Franklin Avenue. It includes all the tools necessary to perform basic bike repairs and maintenance, from changing a flat to adjusting brakes and derailleurs. The tools and air pump are attached to the stand with stainless steel cables and fasteners. Hanging the bike from the hanger arms allows the pedals and wheels to spin freely while making adjustments.
“We came up with the idea for the Fixit station after seeing one at the Metroparks trailhead on Middlebury Road, and thought it would be a great location for bikers when they come downtown, to make minor repairs or fill up a low tire,” Parks and Recreation Director John Idone said.
The station is part of the Harold Walker Rest Area on the Portage Hike & Bike Trail and was funded by the Zephyr, which donated more than $300 toward the project, Kent Environmental Council and the Walker family. This spring, flowering crabapple trees and daylillies were planted at the site. The sandstones that form the seating area and retaining wall were salvaged from the Plum Creek Dam removal.
A bronze plaque will be ready some time in July. The plaque will read: “This rest area is dedicated to Rev. Harold Walker Jr., Jan 26, 1927-June 20, 2017. Always an environmentalist, Harold was often seen riding his bicycle all around Kent. With a warm smile and a welcoming presence, he loved connecting with people from all walks of life. Through his lifelong commitment to sustainable transportation and environmental justice, Harold Walker Jr. made the world a more just and beautiful place.”
Everyone is thrilled that Spring has sprung — including those vector-borne disease propagators otherwise known as ticks and mosquitoes.
I’m not going to be an alarmist but common sense says that humans aren’t the only species enjoying the warm weather and unfortunately it won’t be long before the City’s health department will get all too busy answering calls about our little parasitic carrying neighbors.
Here’s some data out of the Center for Disease Control that shows just how prevalent tick and mosquitoes have become in Ohio.
The health department does what it can but the best defense is a good offense which in this case means being informed and taking precautions to keep the critters off you and your pets.
Keep an eye on the Health Department web site to stay informed as the season of insect bites begins in earnest.