City council meeting addresses Kent Hotel

Alison Lucci

Kent Residents voice concerns about property

The vacant building downtown, known as the Kent Hotel, was the talk of the town at last night’s City Council meeting.

Bob Mayfield, owner of McKay Bricker Framing; Paul Braden, owner of Woodsy’s Music; and Anne Moneypenny, of Jack Kohl Realty, each approached council about what Moneypenny called the “eyesore” on the corner of Main and Depeyster streets.

Mayfield, who said he loves his gallery’s new downtown location, said many visitors ask him about the deteriorating building because it sticks out among the new downtown development.

“I do not want to see a historic icon in our community, like that building, turned into a parking lot,” Braden said.

Council members John Kuhar and Heidi Schaffer addressed residents’ concerns, emphasizing that the court system now has control over decisions regarding the property.

Joseph Bujack, former owner of the property, acquired $428,000 in fines because the building did not comply with safety codes. The county and city are at odds about who should receive the money.

“I believe that there is no more frustrating issue to council right now than this hotel,” Schaffer said.

Law Director Jim Silver said the hotel court hearing that was scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed.

In other business, with a 6-2 vote, council authorized a temporary 2010 budget appropriation.

Ward 6 council member Tracy Wallach also proposed an amendment that was passed regarding the storm water budget. The amendment, which passed unanimously, states the money will be used for staff salaries for two years until economic conditions improve.

In preparation for the coming year, Ward 1 councilman Garret Ferrara recommended the council hold meetings in each of the wards, specifically at local schools and at the university, at least once in 2010.

Before closing the session, Mayor John Fender said it would be a “very proactive move for council to have meetings in the various wards.”

Contact public affairs reporter Alison Lucci at [email protected]