University Expansion May Lead to Community Conflict

University Expansion May Lead to Community Conflict

In Kent, Ohio business has never been better for Kent State University, with two new multi-million dollar buildings in the works to accommodate growing academic needs. While this expansion may be positive for the university, some students and surrounding community members are less than happy with the construction’s consequences. Michael Lopick is here to tell us more…


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To some, the constant construction just outside Kent State University’s campus is the sound of progress, but for others it’s the sound of displacement.

As the university continues to expand, along with the surrounding downtown area, houses normally leased to college students are quickly disappearing, leaving landlords no choice but to lease them houses in residential neighborhoods.

City records show that before the creation of the Lester Lefton Esplanade, this area contained 20 college houses licensed to lease up to 6 students. The demolition of these houses has caused an influx of students to move into the more residential areas of Kent, which some residents are not too happy about.

Including Beth Oswitch, former Kent Councilwoman and resident of South Willow Street, who has some reservations about her new neighbors.

Her opposition to having more and more college student filled houses near her home stems from the irritation her current college neighbors bring through parting, as well as the potential effect it could have on her home’s property value.

“I do have college students living near me, and it is an issue,” she said. “They do have parties, they do stay out later and always have traffic coming and going and its an affect of how will that effect our property value.”

Kristen Misbrener, junior English major, lives on North Willow Street in what once used to be a family home just down from Oswitch. Though she hasn’t had too much trouble, living near families does worry her and limit her “college experience”

“It’s okay, because there are other college houses over here, but at the same time it is kind of scary because the cops are always around our house at all times,” she said.

Looking forward, the university and City of Kent have scheduled the demolition of half of the houses on College Avenue, a popular spot for college students to live. This will force even more students to move into surrounding neighborhoods such as North Willow.

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