City adds $35,000 of landscaping to downtown


Photo by Davey Resource Group.

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Video by Raven Brinson.

The city approved plans at the last council meeting to add $35,000 in landscaping to the community gateway sign on the corner of Haymaker Parkway and S. Water Street.

Jim Bowling, city engineer, said the landscape is being paid for by Davey Tree, College Town Kent and Kent. Money is coming from:

$5,000 donated by Davey Tree

$10,000 paid for by College Town Kent

$20,000 paid for by Kent development revenue

Bowling said the $20,000 from Kent will be paid for by increased property taxes on downtown businesses and not by residential taxes. He said this is the only location the money can be used to make further developments.

“The money can’t be used to go pave a neighborhood street or go fix a sidewalk outside of downtown,” Bowling said. “It can only be used next to this here development [near Panini’s].”

In addition to paying $20,000 for the landscaping, Bowling said the city will be responsible for a 15-year maintenance agreement on the property. The landscaping will include flowers, mulch, grass, trees, trashcans and lawn seats that will be placed on the .4 acres of green space. Bowling said he thinks this addition will make the strip of land more of a public hangout spot.

“We’ve talked for years about trying to find small pockets of space on places for people to sit and hang out outside that aren’t just in restaurants or patios,” Bowling said. “This came up as an opportunity to develop the area.”

Jennifer Lennox, project manager in corporate communications with Davey Tree, said Davey Tree will be responsible for the installation of the landscaping of the area. She said installation will begin sometime next week.

“When we moved downtown, we made a commitment to beautify the area,” Lennox said. “We made the agreement two years ago. This is the finalization of that.”

Bowling said discussions for landscaping started in early spring among Kent, College Town Kent and Davey Tree. He said the green space should be finished by the end of fall if all goes according to plan.

Several residents said they are not fans of the new landscaping plans. Ann Kardos, Kent resident and owner of Logos Bookstore on W. Main Street, said although she does agree with beautification of downtown Kent, she told city officials she thinks they need to pay more attention to other areas of town.

“I’m all in favor of keeping the city beautiful,” Kardos said, “but I own a business at the other end of 59, and I’m concerned that a lot of money is going to be just designated to downtown and forgotten about the west end of town.”

Kardos said at the Sept. 4 council meeting that weeds and trees on city property on the west side of Kent block the view of some businesses in the area.

“The weeds are growing huge and above the fence line,” she said. “While downtown deserves what it’s getting, I don’t want the city to ignore the west side.”

Contact Megan Wilkinson at [email protected]