Let’s Take a Walk/Ride Down the Esplanade

Julie Myers

Members of the Community Outreach Committee and the Sustainability Task Force at Kent State teamed up to create the event, “Let’s Take a Walk/Ride Down the Esplanade” Thursday in Kent, which started at the Risman Plaza and ended at Bar 145.

Marty Mundy, co-chair for the event and part of the Community Outreach Committee, said the event was to show people that it takes just a short time to reach downtown Kent using the Esplanade.

Fellow co-chair Alex Piteo also said the event was to help connect the university to downtown.

“What we’re trying to do is find ways to get people who work on campus to think about coming downtown and using the esplanade for a lunch break,” Piteo said. “We have so many new shops, so many new restaurants, so many new dessert places, there are a lot more choices that people may not know about.”

Melanie Knowles, Sustainability Manager for Kent State University, commented on how using the Esplanade can be beneficial:

“An event like this, that connects the university to the town, promotes wellness through walking, it promotes community, it promotes local business, which is good for the local economy, and the more people we can get walking and riding, the less emissions we have from cars as well,” Knowles said.

Piteo said that the event isn’t just about getting people downtown, it’s about altering the way they travel downtown. The Sustainability Task Force is pushing for people to physically walk or ride bikes down the esplanade and promoting a sustainable, healthier and cleaner lifestyle.

Marty said this is the third year for the event, and this year, they doubled in participants and had to close registration. It’s also the first year with the extended Esplanade.

Vanessa Decker, undergrad secretary for the Department of Sociology, showed enthusiasm for the event.

“Getting the exercise and everything that was included, it just seemed like a fun event. I think they should do things like this more often,” Decker said.

Julee Henry, a staff member and graduate student for the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State, registered for the event to become familiar with the new development in downtown Kent.

“I haven’t gone downtown very much since they’ve made a lot of the changes, so I was just curious to see all the different, new restaurants and things down there,” Henry said.

Beth Thomas, also a staff member and graduate student in the College of Education, Health and Human Services, added to the excitement about the newly developed downtown area.

“I haven’t really seen it in the completion, so I really wanted to take a walk and see how nice it looks now,” Thomas said.

The Esplanade expansion project was completed in August 2013. The new walkway was built to connect the Kent State campus to downtown and provide an easy-access, well-lit gateway to the city.

Contact Julie Myers at [email protected].