City focuses on student containment

Bob Patrick

The city of Kent recently outlined its latest strategy to effectively alienate Kent State University from the rest of the city. City officials tout this as being their most ambitious plan to date, which will involve making some noticeable changes to the controversial Campus Link project.

“We are still moving forward with demolishing the student neighborhoods — that’s a given,” a Kent city official said. “The biggest change people will notice is that instead of building apartments and commercial space, we are going to erect a 20-foot high concrete wall, completely isolating the campus.”

Campus Link supporters were pleased with the revamped plan and noted that this might finally be the answer to keeping troublesome college students from stimulating the local economy and giving the community an identity.

Many local residents were disappointed with some of the ineffective 2004 initiatives. Keeping the downtown stretch of Main Street open to traffic during the annual Halloween celebration did not deter the thousands of students who descended upon Kent, as they

had hoped.

A student who braved the havoc on Main Street that night to showcase his urinal mint costume was willing to play devil’s advocate on the issue.

“I guess I can see how keeping a section of road the size of a football field closed for a night would cause problems,” he said. “It would be next to impossible for the small number of people traveling that way to simply drive another way.”

Not all of last year’s efforts were in vain, however. Much to the chagrin of the Greek community, the city refused to cooperate with the university and close down a short stretch of state Route 59 where the homecoming parade traditionally takes place.

Local resident Shane York has never liked the parade.

“They can’t just go shutting down quarter-mile stretches of moderately busy roads, especially so early on Saturday mornings. The city would grind to a halt! People couldn’t do anything!”

For 2005, the city is asking the police to turn up the heat on students having noisy parties in student-occupied condos. Noisy student gatherings have been known to frequently disrupt other noisy student gatherings.

“If I’m having a loud kegger, I don’t need the guy two doors down having a sweet-ass party too. I can hear his music all the way up here if I turn mine down,” a Townhomes resident said.

Also introduced for the new year was a proposal involving new zoning restrictions aimed at keeping students’ residences as far away from Kent as possible. The new restrictions will allow for only two non-relations to live together anywhere in the city of Kent. Another stipulation is that landlords must demand a $10,000 security deposit on properties. Also, roommates cannot share the same major, astrological sign or hair color.

Many speculate that the gap between Kent State students and the local community will only continue to widen. While some students still aren’t discouraged by the situation, local residents hope they can continue to make students feel increasingly unwanted off-campus.

Bob Patrick is a junior political science major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].