The city of Kent, Ohio, might be considering a partnership with Kent State University after the failure of a recent referendum to fund a municipal rec center.

According to the Record-Courier, KSU president Beverly Warren paid a visit to the Kent City Council and suggested opening a dialogue between the university and the city, as KSU is looking to expand its recreational offerings.

City manager David Ruller seemed receptive to the offer. “She invited conversations with the city to see if there were any opportunities to collaborate to serve the health and wellness needs of students and city residents under one roof,” Ruller said. 

The preliminary talks come after Kent residents turned down a a bond issue that would have generated $17.5 million for the building of a new public rec center.

KSU has issued a master plan for expansion of its rec facilities, which includes a small workout facility near the central part of campus.

Kent Parks and Recreation Director John Idone said one of the first things his department needs to do is to expand programming for seniors. He also said the bond issue might return to the ballot and at that time it may include additional facilities, such as a warm-water therapy pool and an outdoor splash park. 

Nevertheless, Idone said he wants to keep open the channels of communication between the city and KSU. “President Warren is always very open to talking to the leaders of the community and finding ways we can work with the community,” he said. “While there are no specific plans in place, we remain open to working with city leaders to meet the recreational needs of the community.”

Andy Berg is Executive Editor of Athletic Business.