Kent changes loan terms for Wells Sherman House

By Kyle McDonald | Staff Writer Published:

Kent City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to revise the terms of a $15,000, no-interest loan to the Kent Wells Sherman House organization for the relocation of the house from a temporary College Avenue location to North Water Street.

Kent City Manager Dave Ruller said the terms of the loan needed to be updated and clarified, since time has passed since the home's initial December deadline to move.

"We didn't detail in the terms when the cash would be released, and we need to re-evaluate the payment periods, since the house hasn't moved and the payments would have started by now," he said.

Roger Thurman, vice-chairman of Kent Wells Sherman House, Inc., asked that council approve releasing the money once the organization paid for permits, defer loan repayments for one year instead of the initial term of 30 days and change the 10-year loan to 15 years.

Council conceded on the first two conditions, but kept the loan payback period at 10 years.

The organization has been granted permits to begin foundation work at the 247 N. Water St. site, but Thurman said it is waiting to pay for them until funding to move the house is definite.

"There has been a lawsuit, which has delayed this and caused some problems," Thurman said, explaining that the mortgage company will not release funds while the lawsuit is active.

"When we pay for the permit, that will signal that we have the contingency funding to pay for our move of the house," Thurman said.

Councilman Garret Ferrara said deferring the loan payback will give the group time to establish itself on North Water Street.

"To defer the payment for one year would seem to give them a better opportunity to get their feet on the ground," he said. "I'd rather have them get one year under their belt."

Kent State University, which owns the home, has offered to sell the property for $1.

Thurman said the organization plans to execute the bill of sale in coordination with the move.

Council also reviewed it's TREX license guidelines, passed in September in response to new Ohio guidelines that allow for surplus liquor licenses to transfer between communities.

Guidelines set by council in September require would-be license holders to invest at least $750,000 into a new establishment that occupies at least 4,000 square feet, and must limit alcohol sales to no more than 25 percent of its total business.

Kent Economic Development Director Dan Smith said the city has had interest, but none of the applicants could meet the criteria.

Council directed the city's administration to draft guidelines that include submitting a full business plan, third-party verification of finances, separate guidelines for investing in new and existing buildings and potential ways to address businesses that become a nuisance.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1127 or kmcdonald@recordpub.com

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.