City plans to purchase College Avenue properties for new police department

Emily Mills

Kent City Council is working with the law department of the City of Kent to purchase land at the west end of College Avenue near Haymaker Parkway for the city’s new police department.

Kent City Manager Dave Ruller said the council has authorized the city’s law director, James Silver, to begin purchasing properties, which includes approximately a dozen residential houses and the Kent Church of Christ. Property negotiations are beginning, Ruller said, but no purchases have been made.

“When all of the necessary properties have been purchased, the city would hire a demolition contractor to clear the site in order to prepare it for the construction of the new police building,” he said. “I would think that the soonest demolition activity would begin would be in 2015.”

David Sommers and Associates, a Kent-based architecture firm, was officially hired Friday to construct the new police department, Ruller said. Construction is expected to begin sometime next year and finish in late 2016. The entire project is expected to take around 37 months, according to plans from David Sommers and Associates.

The new building is expected to be approximately 30,000 square feet. It will cost $13 million for the building and between $4 and $5 million for land, according to the police department’s website.

The city will pay $1.3 million annually in a 30-year bond plan to finance the building. The funds will come from a 0.25 percent increase to Kent residents’ income tax. Those who are retired or on fixed income, however, will not be affected by the increase.

The current Kent Police Department, located at 319 S. Water St., was built in 1924, with its last addition in 1977, bringing the building’s current square footage to 21, 461. The structure is not in compliance with current standards for public jails from the State of Ohio Corrections Department. It is also not in compliance with modern building and zoning codes, the National Fire Protection Association requirements, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction regulations and the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the website.

Emily Mills is the principal reporter for Kentwired.com. Contact her at [email protected]