Early plans for Veterans Memorial continue to take shape

Tyler Goddard

The city of Kent is looking to create a Fallen Veterans Memorial downtown. The memorial will feature flags representing each branch of the military.

Currently, developers are looking to place the memorial next to the planned Kent Central Gateway multimodal center that is currently under construction.

City Manager Dave Ruller said they have discussed the idea with PARTA about using the land for the memorial, but the location and the design for the memorial haven’t been decided on.

He said without an actual design, “we don’t have any guess on cost.”

The next step for the city will be to find architects who have experience in designing memorials.

“Once we know a cost estimate we’ll look at the funding options from the city, PARTA and secondary or private donors,” Ruller said.

Joshua Rider, assistant director at the Center for Adult and Veteran Services, said when he first heard of plans for a memorial, he thought it was a fantastic idea.

“I was glad that city government was acknowledging the commitment and sacrifices of our service men and women,” Rider said.

The city has looked at different design options including one that is similar to the Portage County Veterans’ Memorial Plaza located in front of the county courthouse in Ravenna.

Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala favors a courtyard design similar to the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial in Sunbury, Ohio.

Fiala feels the memorial in Sunbury is more professionally done and has a more peaceful feel than the one outside the county courthouse.

“The one in Ravenna is kind of plain, and the one at Sunbury, from what I can tell is more personalized and more professionally done,” Fiala said. “I just want to see it go in that direction.”

Rider said the memorial would be a great honor for all past Kent State student veterans as well.

There are currently 610 Kent State students on the Kent campus and 400 students at all the regional campuses receiving GI Bill benefits, but veterans have been part of the campus dating back to World War I, Rider said.

“We’ve had students, faculty and staff that have served in every major conflict and peacekeeping mission since that time,” Rider said. “Many of these individuals are now community members, so it would honor their service to their country.”

Fiala said another benefit of the potential downtown location is that people within the community will be driving or walking past it every day.

“People will stop and think that these are people who gave their lives up for what we take for granted every day of the week,” he said.

Ruller said they hope to have more answers by later in the spring.

“There is a desire on our end to coordinate an announcement with Memorial Day,” Ruller said.


Contact Tyler Goddard at [email protected].