Magazine article Public Management

Partners for Excellence * Kent, Ohio

Magazine article Public Management

Partners for Excellence * Kent, Ohio

Article excerpt

Since winning ICMA's Excellence in Community Engagement award in 2005 for its Bicentennial Plan, Kent (pop. nearly 29,000) has been busy putting the plan into action--demolishing blighted buildings, repurposing historic properties, and starting new construction. Residents, students, business leaders, university administrators, and elected officials shared two goals: to revitalize downtown Kent and to improve connectivity to the Kent State University campus.

The aim was to align city, university, and business assets so as to turn downtown Kent into a catalyst for an economic revival, creating jobs, inspiring new technologies, and spawning entrepreneurship while meeting sustainability goals by restoring historically significant buildings and making Kent a livable, walkable, and bikeable community. This sparked the public-private partnership that brought the city and university together with the Portage Area Regional Transit Authority (PARTA), Downtown Kent Corporation, the Pizzuti Companies, Fairmount Properties, and Phoenix Properties. The success of their efforts is apparent in the fruits of their $110 million investment, which include three corporate world headquarters relocated to downtown Kent; a $24 million state-of-the-art PARTA Central Gateway that brings pedestrians, bicyclists, bus riders, and motorists together in an eco-friendly, geothermally heated building; a $15 million hotel and conference center; "College Town Kent," a mixed-use redevelopment block; and extension of the esplanade to reconnect the central business district and the university. …

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