Meeting to discuss look of downtown

Brock Harrington

The Main Street Kent committee will hold an open meeting at 7 p.m. at the Kent Stage.

The committee will discuss design guidelines for all downtown Kent buildings. The meeting will focus on generating different ideas for the project and forming the first steps to building in downtown Kent – and the committee will rely on Kent residents’ opinions.

“(The meeting) will be about the basic look of what downtown should be,” said Mary Gilbert, Main Street Kent executive director.

Main Street Kent has hired a local firm, Chambers, Murphy & Burge, to handle the new projects. Principal architect Elizabeth Corbin Murphy, an assistant professor in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, said the meeting is just another step in the process.

“What (Main Street Kent is) doing is gathering historical information of the City of Kent … to form a set of guidelines,” Murphy said.

The guidelines – which act similar to rules for an architect – will lay out what the perimeters will be for the new construction in the downtown area.

For example, Murphy said, one guideline would be the size of the buildings. If all the current buildings downtown are three stories high, it wouldn’t be practical for the architect to design a 10-story building.

“The project is writing the guidelines,” Murphy said.

Murphy hopes for the guidelines to be completed by the end of the year.

As far as tonight’s meeting is concerned, both Gilbert and Murphy encourage residents to attend the meeting and bring ideas.

“Tomorrow, the meeting is open to the public,” Murphy said. “Anyone can come and contribute.”

Contact reporting public affairs reporter Brock Harrington at [email protected].