Our View: Mapping our progress

DKS Editors

Summary: A new geographic mapping tool promises to make Kent a more marketable and prosperous community. We think this technology will enhance the improvements being made to our downtown.

As Kent residents (both permanent and temporary), we live in a changing community, witnessing economic expansion on what sometimes feels like a daily basis. In the past few years, we’ve seen new restaurants, new stores, new bars and even a new landscape come to downtown Kent.

Now newly available technology is making it easier to map these changes in a way that pinpoints and promotes the economic possibilities available in Kent.

The Portage County Regional Planning Commission recently implemented an asset-mapping tool for Kent that provides developers with the information they need when considering whether to build in Kent. Geographic information systems, or GIS mapping, make it easy to collect and analyze geographical data for a given area.

Other cities, including Ravenna, already use GIS mapping to track economic development. In Ravenna, the program helps City Council make decisions about land usage by specifically outlining what space is in use, what space is available and the details of those parcels.

Bringing GIS mapping to Kent opens our city to a better understanding of its economic potential. We think this is a positive step toward continuing the momentum in Kent and showing outside businesses why this is a great city to invest in.

Additionally, the expanded access to property information benefits Kent residents who will hopefully be able to use the program to see exactly how their tax dollars are spent. The more conceptualized system will also allow City Council to better understand how land is used and could be used in Kent, equipping them to make the most informed decisions on decisions that affect us all.

We live in a dynamic city. Kent is more marketable than ever with much to offer and, with this new technology, we look forward to opportunities for continued growth.