Council discusses foreclosure of Old Hotel in Kent

Ben Breier

Kent City Manager Dave Ruller began last night’s city council meeting with an issue he said was near and dear to everybody’s hearts.

The bulk of the meeting debated the future of the property located on 180 E. Main St., known in Kent as the Old Hotel.

After City Councilman Wayne Wilson moved for the structure to be razed, which failed in a 4 to 5 vote, City Councilman Ed Bargerstock moved for foreclosure on the property, which passed 7 to 2.

City Councilwoman Beth Oswitch, who originally voted against the razing because of the tax revenue that Kent was earning from the building, changed her vote after hearing the arguments of other council members.

“That’s one of the things I love about this council,” Oswitch said on the persuasiveness of her peers.

Oswitch also brought up safety concerns with the property. She said scaffolding had to be put on the building last Halloween in order to prevent stray chunks of brick and mortar from falling onto the street.

“What is the price of somebody’s life, especially if we knew that the building was dangerous?” Councilwoman Carrie Gavriloff said.

Ruller said it would cost the city around $400,000 to tear the building down – more than three times the amount of the property’s appraised value of $130,000.

Wilson said if money was a concern, canceling the bridge project on Fairchild Avenue would go a long way toward paying for the razing.

Foreclosure gives the city some options, but deciding to demolish the building locks the city into an irreversible decision, Ruller said.

But he agreed that some sort of action needed to take place.

“We just don’t want to wait anymore,” he said. “We just want to see this move in one direction.”

In other issues, city council approved two stop signs – one at the intersection of Longmere Drive and Leonard Boulevard, and another at the three-way intersection of Longmere Drive, Middlebury Road and Munroe Falls-Kent Road.

Contact public affairs reporter Ben Breier at [email protected].