Letter: Multi-faceted study of student housing needed

Published:

It is prudent for Kent State University and the city of Kent to do an assessment of market demand for residential units, as reported in the Record-Courier, Aug. 31. As we pursue this, it would be wise for us to consider this matter in a comprehensive fashion, including consideration of the types, scale, location and impact on traffic, environment and neighborhoods. As it is, lately we have had several large-scale, student-only, (read highly specialized) complexes built in Kent and Franklin Township with little regard to the impact on existing neighborhoods, non-student residents and traffic. If every student needs a parking space, we are doomed to excess traffic and noise, and an anti-pedestrian and bicycling climate.

I am a strong supporter of Kent State University and believe that the student population brings a vibrancy and vitality that is unique to college towns. Somewhere between illegal boarding houses and cruise ship complexes there needs to be a way to integrate accessory apartments into single-family neighborhoods so that we can attract young families to invest in our historic mid-town neighborhoods. The issue is the density of students and their preference for late night and boisterous activities in competition to those who get up early and enjoy our sleep. We can have both, but it will take a lot of hard work, good design and planning. Trying to project the rental market will not be enough.

Rick Hawksley, Kent

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