Proposed parking structure debated

Ben Breier

A proposed parking structure to be placed in the Terrace Hall area was debated at a meeting last Thursday hosted by the University Area Project and Traffic Planning Citizen Advisory Committee in City Hall. About 50 residents and members of the university community attended to voice their opinions.

The best long-term parking solution would be to put up a parking structure where Terrace Hall currently stands, according to the proposal presented at the meeting. The structure would hold up to 700 cars.

But other concerns had to be considered, including increased traffic flow from the proposed parking structure, noise pollution and aesthetics.

No final decision has been made regarding the Terrace area parking and traffic proposal.

Bill Grunkemeyer, a state specialist in community development for Ohio State University, moderated the discussion and said he was impressed with the turnout.

Several Kent area residents voiced concerns about the proposal, but the general consensus was that something had to be done.

Some in attendance had other suggestions for the Terrace area, such as putting up a flat parking lot instead of a parking structure or retaining Terrace Hall and using it for another purpose.

One other suggestion included building a parking garage in the parking lot between the Music and Speech Building and the Tri-Towers area.

But Tom Clapper, Kent State general manager of transportation services, said a parking garage outside of Music and Speech would be largely counterproductive.

By constructing a garage in that parking lot, “you would have to demolish existing spaces in Music and Speech,” Clapper said.

Not all of the proposals included installing additional parking.

Kim Sebaly, associate professor in the College of Education, said he asked some of his students what they would want to do about the parking situation at the university. He said some students said no parking of any kind should be constructed where Terrace Hall is.

“Instead of making a parking deck, make a park,” Sebaly said. He suggested that the added green space would make the campus more appealing.

Sophomore exploratory major Earl Coburn, who was not at the meeting, likes the idea of a parking garage where Terrace Hall is.

“It’d be great because it’d be closer to campus, and not as far away as Summit East would be,” said Coburn. “You wouldn’t have to worry about buses as much. Being centered on campus, you could walk from the garage rather than waiting for buses.”

Parking concerns weren’t the only issue raised at the meeting. Kent resident Harriett Begula voiced concerns on a much larger scale.

“Our downtown is dying. We need much more than parking,” Begula said.

Contact general assignment reporter Ben Breier at [email protected].