Edwards Communities discusses student housing project

Kaylee Remington

Edwards Communities, the Columbus company proposing new student housing on South Lincoln Street, invited the Kent community to an informal meeting Thursday to discuss the project.

The company will go to the Kent Planning Commission again on Nov. 16, but wanted to speak to residents about what exactly they’re proposing. The meeting brought a low turnout of only six residents.

Peter Edwards, owner of Edwards Communities, came to talk to concerned citizens. He explained that many Kent apartments are far away from campus, and their company wants to provide a new student complex only a half mile from campus.

“Students can walk right onto campus,” Edwards said.

He also said he intends graduate students and upperclassmen to live in the complex. Edwards said he believes if older students live there, residents wouldn’t be concerned about noise and other behaviors.

“This is upscale student housing,” Edwards said.

Ryan Szymanski, a representative for the project, told residents that Edwards Communities has been looking at constructing a complex in Kent for seven years.

“We firmly believe the project should be for all parties (residents, students),” Szymanski said.

Heidi Schaffer, Ward 5 council member, said the biggest obstacle is getting rid of foot traffic so residents aren’t so upset by how many students walk along High Street.

“Maybe there is a way that the company can make an attractive walkway,” Schaffer told them.

Schaffer further explained that making a walkway away from High Street might make students avoid that area.

Szymanski said he wanted residents to know the complex would provide housing for upperclassmen who move off campus, and he stressed that Kent State’s enrollment is growing, creating a need for more off-campus student housing.

The Nov. 16 meeting at the Kent Planning Commission is open to the public.