Kent Wells Sherman House move delayed

In ongoing lawsuit, structure's preservation group files motion to have attorney fees paid.

By Jeremy Nobile | Staff Writer Published:

The relocation of the Kent Wells Sherman House from its temporary location on College Street to a lot on North Water Street has been delayed until further notice.

READ PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Moving date set for Kent Wells Sherman House

Kent Service Director Eugene Roberts said an issue with utilities at the 247 N. Water St. address caused the holdup.

The house was scheduled to be moved beginning at 7 a.m. today. Kent State University is footing the costs.

READ PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Court rules in favor of Kent Wells Sherman House relocation to North Water Street

Roberts said utility lines in the air need to be dropped temporarily so the house can be moved over them and onto its new lot.

However, there is a scheduling conflict with that work, Roberts said. A new move date and time has not been set. He said the soonest the move could happen would be the second weekend in September.

The Kent Wells Sherman House, which has been the subject of an eight-month legal battle, has been sitting for more than a year on College Avenue.

The house was slated for demolition by KSU as the university planned the expansion of its Esplanade, a walkway that runs through campus and connects to downtown.

Kent Wells Sherman House, Inc. was formed to preserve the house, which was built in 1858 and has links to Kent patriarch Zenas Kent and Civil War-era surgeon Dr. Aaron Sherman. The university offered to pay for the relocation if the group could secure a new location, which was found in the North Water Street lot. KSU sold the house to the group for $1.

A lawsuit seeking to prevent the Kent Wells Sherman House from relocating to the lot on North Water Street was filed against the city and the Sherman House group by the citizen group Save the Standing Rock Garden, whose legal counsel is attorney John Plough. They argued the house would disturb the flora at the lot, prevent Standing Rock Cultural Art's use of the property and obscure the view of a mural on the north facing wall of Scribbles Coffee Co., among other claims.

In July, a Portage County Common Pleas Court magistrate ruled in favor of the move after finding the opposing group had no legitimate claim to the property.

On Aug. 15, attorney J. Michael Gatien, representing the Kent Wells Sherman House group, filed a motion requesting the Standing Rock group pay attorney fees.

"The law provides for recovery for cases that have no merit," Gatien said. "This case had absolutely no merit."

"They never had a legitimate claim to the property," he added. "This lawsuit should've never been brought."

Plough has 14 days to file a response to the claim. As of Friday, a response had not been filed.

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

Facebook: Jeremy Nobile, Record-Courier

Twitter: @jnobile_RPC

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