Kent Central Gateway to get the grand-opening treatment

Katy Coduto

The Kent Central Gateway — which includes downtown’s new parking garage — will celebrate its grand opening Monday, Aug. 5.

PARTA, with support from City Council, is hosting the event on Erie Street, which will close from 2 to 4 p.m. Council approved the temporary street closure earlier this month.

Frank Hairston, PARTA marketing director, said tours of the Gateway building will begin at 1 p.m., followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2.

City Manager Dave Ruller said the Kent Central Gateway is an important connection between downtown and the university. In addition, it’s a major part of Kent’s ongoing growth.

“The transit center is a critical piece in the downtown revitalization, serving as a transit, bicycling and parking hub for all of the new business activity in the downtown,” he said. “The building is located prominently along Erie Street and Haymaker Parkway, so it lives up to its name as an impressive gateway connecting the campus to the downtown.”

Since PARTA is the official host for the event, the grand opening will not cost the city any money, Ruller said. He expects PARTA to invite a number of important local figures to take part in the opening.

“This will be a day to thank everyone for their contributions and officially announce the transit center as open for business,” he said.

Hairston said notable guests include United States Congressman Tim Ryan and Marisol Simon, an administrator in the Federal Transportation Administration’s Region 5.

In 2010, the city received $20 million of federal money to help build the transportation center.

Ruller said he is most excited to see downtown Kent continue to grow, especially with the help of a major partner like PARTA.

“PARTA has been a terrific partner throughout our downtown redevelopment,” Ruller said. “And I’m excited to see all their hard work pay off ceremoniously with the grand opening of the facility.”

Contact Katy Coduto at [email protected].