Student organization walks through the rain to show off downtown Kent

Dominique Lyons

Dominique Lyons

[email protected]

Why you should care

  • For most students, Kent is home nine months out of the year.
  • Downtown Kent is going to be completely revamped, and with its niche shops, there’s bound to be something there for everyone.

An on-campus organization partnered with the city of Kent Thursday in a walk to increase student presence in the downtown area.

One Kent, a campus-based group, hosted Let’s Take a Ride/Walk, and Miracle on Main Street supplied the food.

“We’d like to have the students and faculty and staff see (downtown) as a fun place to be,” said Mary Gilbert, executive director of Main Street Kent. “Also, even though we have all these new businesses coming in, we have existing businesses that are really great that they probably just don’t even know about. So we thought if we could bring them down, feed them lunch, we could maybe get them to see downtown as a possible shopping option.”

The walk started at the Student Center, wound through the Esplanade, went into downtown Kent and ended at The Kent Stage. Once there, Ed Donley of Dr. GreenBee and Gilbert gave speeches extolling the shops of downtown Kent and stressing the importance of buying locally and advocating more environmental responsibility.

Kent’s next wave of shops, Acorn Alley II, has an $80 million budget, which will go toward a new hotel and conference center, new restaurants, a new bus depot with a public parking garage and an extension to Acorn Alley.

“A lot of people (used to be) reluctant to come downtown because there wasn’t anything new and exciting, same old, same old,” said Tom Khoury, account executive at Kent Office Supply’s Miracle on Main Street. “(Now there are) a lot of new shops, new construction (and a) new hotel going in. I think it really causes people to have a reason to come back downtown and congregate here.”

To further foster a strong bond between Kent State and the city of Kent, the Esplanade will be extended to shorten the walk from campus to downtown.

“The completed Esplanade will be a shorter route than we’re (taking) today,” said Marty Mundy, co-chair of One Kent. “It’s going to cross Lincoln and go directly to Haymaker, so away from the Route 59/Main Street/Lincoln Intersection.”

Contact Dominique Lyons at [email protected].