Faculty and staff at Kent State University gathered in Risman Plaza on Thursday to walk along the now complete Esplanade connection to downtown Kent for a lunchtime break.
About 140 people took part in, "Let's Take a Ride/Walk," on the Esplanade, which included free lunch at Bar 145, co-sponsored by Miracle on Main Street.
"We're really working hard to try and connect campus to Kent," said Alex Piteo of Miracle on Main Street and a member of the KSU sustainability task force. "What a beautiful job has already been done."
Piteo said the event has grown exponentially since it started in 2011.
Vanessa Decker, a secretary in the KSU Department of Sociology, said the event was a great reason for her to get outdoors, walk through campus and get a bite to eat downtown.
"I think it's a good event for the university and I think they should do things like this more often," she said. "Exercising is more fun with other people."
A lifelong resident of Ravenna and no stranger to Kent, Decker said the walk was her first time taking the Esplanade into downtown.
Decker recalled doing school shopping in downtown Kent as a child and said she's glad to see it thriving once again.
"I think there's just something for everybody. It's great to see families and little kids having fun in Kent," she said.
Upon their arrival to downtown, the Kent Police Department provided assistance in helping the large crowd cross Haymaker Parkway.
Goodie bags with downtown deals from Main Street Kent were given to participants.
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Facebook: Kyle McDonald, Record-Courier