Council OKs loan for historic Kent home

By Thomas Gallick | Staff Writer Published:

Kent City Council approved a $15,000 loan to a non-profit group planning to move a historic home Wednesday, despite objections from two councilmen.

Council voted 6-2 in favor of the no-interest loan, which the Kent Wells Sherman House Inc. will have 15 years to pay back. Councilmen John Kuhar and Wayne Wilson voted against the ordinance, while council members Jack Amrhein, Michael DeLeone Scott Flynn, Heidi Shaffer, Roger Sidoti and Tracy Wallach voted for it.

Councilman Garret Ferrara was absent.

Council approved the loan to the group last year, but never disbursed the funds. It re-examined the issue this month to set more specific guidelines for the loan.

Kuhar suggested a different plan for loaning the money to the group, which would ask the group to pay it back over the next 7.5 years, at 2 percent interest. He said the plan passed by council did not do enough to safeguard the public money used for the loan.

"To me, it's just a very poor business transaction," Kuhar said. "I can't support it with the taxpayers' dollars."

Council will allow the group to defer payments on the loan for one year, as its members finalize the details of the house's move from its temporary home at the dead end of East College Avenue to a lot on North Water Street.

The group saved the Greek Revival home from demolition last year after researchers discovered its ties to Frances Kent Wells, sister of city namesake Marvin Kent. Kent State University had planned to raze the house for its Esplanade walkway expansion, but agreed to sell the house to the non-profit group for $1 after the structure's historic ties were revealed.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or tgallick@recordpub.com

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