City Council approves purchase of East College Avenue properties, addresses Ebola precautions in Kent

Joanna Kamvouris

City Council approves purchase of East College Avenue properties, addresses Ebola precautions in Kent

Kent City Council met Wednesday evening to approve the purchase of properties on East College Avenue and address the regional Ebola scare.

City Council approved 12 lots on East College Avenue, for the location of the city’s new police station, scheduled to be completed by spring 2017. The council also amended the area of land needed for the building, which will now be bounded to the North by Haymaker Parkway and to the East by the Eastern lot lines at 233 and 234 E. College Street

The council waited to settle with property owners of four of the 12 properties earlier this fall needed to build the city’s new police station.

The properties, located at the end of the road across from Franklin Hall, include 223, 225 and 227 East College Avenue, owned by  S.M. Poulton, Ltd., and 233 East College Avenue, owned by S.M. Templeton, Ltd. The majority of the properties are currently used for student housing.

Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala said the council met with the property owners in executive session Oct. 1 to answer questions about why the city needed the properties for the new station, which is to be located on the southeast corner of South Depeyster Street and Haymaker Parkway.

Council used eminent domain, or taking private property for public use, when it purchased other properties on the road in August. The money that will be used to build the police station comes from an income tax increase that Kent residents voted for in the November 2013 elections.

Also at the meeting, Kent State alum Eugene Muldowney introduced himself as a candidate on the Nov. 4 ballot for common pleas judge.

“I am the only candidate that practices law in Portage County, and I have practiced in all levels in front of many judges,” he said. “Over the past 25 years, having those experiences and taking wisdom from all the previous judges, I hope to incorporate that knowledge in Portage County.”

City Manager Dave Ruller addressed the five-year capital budget plan, stating that there are more needs than there are resources.

“I do think that some debt has cleared out,” he said. “We are heading in a good direction.”

City Council will meet again on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. located at 217 East Summit St..

Kent takes action against Ebola

Health Commissioner Jeff Neistadt addressed the virus that has become a widespread concern in the community. He said the health department will undergo a meticulous process to assure that Portage County remains safe.

“There’s been a lot of misinformation being disseminated throughout the country,” he said. “We have a Kent State phone line available as well as all the guidelines we have with the CDC. They are very willing to assist if it is needed.”

Although officials have been taking temperatures to detect the virus, Neistadt said this approach is not absolutely effective.

“We know that 87 percent of individuals show symptoms of temperature,” he said. “There are a lot of viruses floating around at this time in the year, and there is no reason to assume that anyone has Ebola here in Kent.”

Councilman John Kuhar said he is concerned about Ebola and has questions about how the virus spreads. He urged the council to address these issues.

Microbiology expert Chris Woolverton, Kent State professor of environmental health science, said the basics of an Ebola infection begin by coming in contact with bodily fluids of an infected person.

“The fever is the first sign that the cells are breaking down in the body as a response to the virus,” he said. “The virus attacks the lining of blood vessels. One of the next symptoms of the disease is bleeding from the eyes, rectum and other orifices.”

Woolverton said in about 52 percent of patients, bodies without treatment will succumb to the virus and those who recover have lasting immunity for 10 to 15 years.

Contact Joanna Kamvouris at [email protected].