Bowman Breakfast celebrates City of Kent and Kent State partnership

Laina Yost

Leaders from the City of Kent and Kent State met for breakfast Wednesday morning with a panel to discuss university and town relations.

The Facilities Master Plan was the main focus of the meeting. President Beverly Warren used the plan as an example of the partnership between the city and university.

Mark Polatajko, the senior vice president of finance and administration for Kent State and David Ruller, the Kent city manager, praised the Master Plan, particularly the renovations to Main Street and Front Campus.

“I think this Main Street project, this Front Campus and what it’s intentionally able to do in terms of transformative impact, is sort of an unspoken secret,” Ruller said. “Top to bottom, this Master Plan is terrific for the community.”

Tom Euclide, the associate vice president of facilities planning and operations, who retires at the end of the month, reflected on the university and town relations and what they’ve accomplished. He also spoke about the project that expanded the Esplanade and how it bridged downtown Kent and Kent State.

Kent Police Lt. Mike Lewis and Kent State Police Chief Dean Tondiglia spoke about how important a town-gown relationship is to both police departments as they work together.

“We as a police department, we recognize what Kent State brings to our community,” Lewis said. “The amount of revenue it provides for our community, being the largest employer in Portage County, that’s not lost on us. We certainly have to appreciate that.”

Lori Wemhoff, the executive director of the chamber of commerce, said the event has seen a lot of growth over the years. They have moved the event to the Student Center Ballroom in order to accommodate the larger audience.

“It’s really in the past 10 years that there’s been such a huge increase in the collaborative efforts on both sides,” she said.

The next Bowman Breakfast will be held in the fall semester.

Laina Yost is an administration reporter. Contact her at [email protected].