PARTA breaks ground on transit center: Kent facility cited as an example of the region "roaring back"

  • Partners break ground on the Kent Central Gateway
  • John Drew (PARTA General Manager) speaking to Nate Brugler from AMATS
  • Mark Welling (Quandel) and Jeff Jarvis (TranSystems) at Kent Central Gateway Groundbreaking
  • Portage County Commissioner Chris Smeiles speaking with PARTA Board of Trustees President Rick Bissler
  • Portage County Commissioner Chris Smeiles and PARTA Board of Trustees President Rick Bissler
  • Lori Wemhoff, Ron Burbick, Anne Moneypenny
  • Jim Bowling (City Engineer) and Anne Moneypenny
  • Pastor Eddie Fisher delivering the invocation for the ceremony
  • John Drew (PARTA General Manager) welcomes Congressman Tim Ryan to the podium
  • Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-17) addresses the groundbreaking attendees
  • Anne Moneypenny, Lori Wemhoff (Kent Area Chamber of Commerce), Congressman Tim Ryan
  • Marianne Freed (Administrator, ODOT Office of Transit), Juana Hostin (Urban Transit Program Coordinator, ODOT Office of Transit)
  • Gregg Floyd (KSU VP of Finance and Administration), Tom Euclide (KSU VP of Facilities and Operations), John Drew (PARTA General Manager)
  • Max Blachman (Sen. Sherrod Brown) and Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-17)
  • John Drew (PARTA General Manager) speaking to Mayor Jerry Fiala and Bill Nome, PARTA's Board of Trustees Counsel
  • Councilman Wayne Wilson, Bryan Smith (PARTA Project Manager), Councilman Erik Valenta, Dan Smith (City of Kent Economic Development Director)
  • Rick Bissler, Tim Ryan, Greg Floyd, Dave Ruller, Jim Bowling, Tom Euclide, Jerry Fiala, Max Blachman, Dan Smith, Heidi Shaffer, Erik Valenta, John Drew, Wayne Wilson
  • Project partners gather to celebrate the Kent Central Gateway groundbreaking
  • PARTA KCG Groundbreaking Program Page 1
  • PARTA KCG Groundbreaking Program Page 2
  • Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala speaking at Kent Central Gateway Groundbreaking
  • Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-17) with John Drew (PARTA General Manager)
  • Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-17) and John Drew (PARTA General Manager)

Heavy rain drenched Kent on Monday, but couldn’t dampen the spirits of the officials gathered at the groundbreaking for the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority’s new downtown-Kent transit center.

“It may be a little gloomy outside, but the sun is shining on Kent, Ohio today and with good reason,” said Max Blachman, regional representative for Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office.

Blachman said the project was one example of the region “roaring back...despite what others might say.”
“Welcome to Kent on a beautiful, Ohio spring day,” U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan said, drawing laughs from the crowd.

Ryan praised the collaboration between the city of Kent, Kent State University and PARTA on the project, which he called “the premier transportation facility” in the country.

“What we’ve always been trying to do here, working with the city, working with the university, working with PARTA, is to try to create an environment where we can have an economic rebirth in Northeast Ohio,” Ryan said. “We are starting to see the signs of that.”

PARTA General Manager John Drew called Ryan, who worked to secure funding for the project, “my hero.” He also made sure to point out PARTA did not get to the groundbreaking on its own.

“I don’t think people realize the amount of time and effort the city of Kent and Kent State University have put into this project,” Drew said.

According to PARTA, $20 million of the funding for the transit center will come from TIGER grant funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment act, while $4 million will come from the city of Kent.

“We are here in part to celebrate the effectiveness of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” Blachman said.
The proposed bus transfer and parking facility will feature over 300 parking spaces, and space for retail, entertainment other business spaces.

“This is a great day for Kent,” Kent Councilman Erik Valenta said. “It’s opportunity. It’s jobs. It’s job creation.”

(News Source:, By Thomas Gallick April 5, 2011)

Click Video: Groundbreaking for Kent Central Gateway Transit Center to view the event.