City should accept KSU to revive downtown

Kent City Council wants to “bring sexy back” to Kent’s not-so-vibrant downtown. It just doesn’t seem that, right now, downtown has a whole lot that would attract students and keep them in Kent to do their shopping.

Right now, the nearest hardcore shopping options are in Stow and Cuyahoga Falls.

But getting American Eagle, Gap or Foot Locker to open in Kent would be nearly impossible, and some council members recognize this.

Shopping isn’t the only thing that would make downtown more appealing — new restaurants and general places to hang out would also help.

The Stater editorial board isn’t saying Kent’s downtown needs a complete overhaul. For the most part, we like the old-time feel of the area, and we like small businesses. Places like Woodsy’s and Einstein’s Attic need to survive.

The editorial board does, however, have a few ideas that could help downtown be more connected to the university and to the Kent population in general.

We’ll start with what we would like to stay the same: the bars. There are plenty of them that offer different experiences wherever you go. Want to get your drink on? There’s a bar for that. Want to get your dance on? There’s a bar for that.

Also, as noted before, the survival of small businesses is important — Kent’s downtown is well-known its eclectic stores. These need to remain, for the sake of the owners as well as the consumers. We need those great little shoppes as much as they need us.

The city should keep and play up stores like Einstein’s Attic that sell cheap, vintage clothes and knick knacks. College students don’t have much money, they’re right, so why not use that to their advantage?

They need to have more current music acts at the Kent Stage. They always seem to have older, folk acts no one has cared about for a few decades. If they used some money to help bring bigger acts that college students were interested in, it could help reinvigorate the town, which in turn could provide Kent with more opportunities to bring in better stores.

With more shopping opportunities on Main and Water streets, it would be logical to include more benches and places to relax. The downtown is already a popular place to gather at any time of day. These little spots would just be nice extras for anyone just walking around or for friends to sit down.

We also recognize that council should also be concerned with making the area appeal to the city’s year-round residents.

Kent’s downtown would benefit from a new park or playground for kids — there is more to the city than business owners and college students. Parents should have a place to bring their kids to play outside and socialize.

Overall, just adding more variety to downtown would improve it. Permanent residents are important. However, if the city would embrace the university, much like Athens has embraced Ohio University, it would help both Kent and Kent State.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.