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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

By Dylan McCament, KnoxPages.com Reporter

GAMBIER - Any village resident can tell you that change is well underway to the downtown, and there are many more changes to come.

Kenyon College kicked off what it is calling a "revitalization" project last summer which so far has included renovating portions of middle path, tearing down the old Gambier Grill restaurant and constructing a new building to house the village's only grocery store.

The Village Market at 112 Gaskin Avenue, which has long served both college students and residents alike, will soon be relocated to a new building at the corner of Brooklyn Street and Chase Avenue, beside the village's post office.

According to Mary Keister, director of news media relations for Kenyon College, the new market will be open in June. She said the design of the new market will allow delivery trucks to use the alley between the building and the gas station and to park parallel to the building on Brooklyn Street so traffic can easily drive around trucks making deliveries.

Keister said the new 9,950 square-foot building, the location of an old bank building once stood, is nearly completed, adding that the upper floor floors of the building will be used for student housing.

After the market moves, renovations to Farr Hall will begin, according to a recent college news release. Farr Hall is the building on Gaskin Avenue near the center of town that currently houses the Kenyon College Bookstore, the Gambier Deli and the Village Market.

This month, Kenyon College will seek approval from the village to allow for renovations to the bookstore which would include adding new windows and additions to the second floor for college office. During these renovations, the bookstore will temporarily move into the northern end of Farr Hall, the current location of the Village Market and Gambier Deli.

The release also explains that when the renovations have been completed, the bookstore will move back to its permanent space and the northern two-thirds of Farr Hall will be demolished. Three new buildings with retail space and student housing on the upper floors will be built on the site.

Around the third week of June, the Gambier Deli will close for a year during the Farr Hall renovations, according to the release, and should re-open in a newly-designed space at an unspecified date in the future.

Another part of the revitalization project is nearing completion. Construction on two new buildings behind Farr Hall is nearing completion, according to Keister, who added that these will house students this coming fall and be the homes of Unity House and the Snowden Multicultural Center.

On a related matter, the college-owned gas station, Campus Auto & Fuel at 101 W. Brooklyn St., behind the new Village Market building, will re-open on April 10 under new management. The gas station was closed in January after the college opted not to renew the lease with the former operator.

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