Lorain Begins New Planning Process, Looks To Downtown For Future

Lorain residents picking places where they think development in the city should be focused. [photo: Matt Richmond / ideastream]
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Officials and residents in the City of Lorain are in the middle of creating a new comprehensive plan for the city. At a public meeting for residents Wednesday night, attendees focused on bringing back the city’s downtown.

One method for collecting their ideas was a survey set up in the back of downtown's Palace Theatre. To one question, “What would entice me to visit downtown more often?” Lorain resident Joan Perch replied, “More entertainment and events and arts.”

The comprehensive plan is meant as a roadmap for what Lorain will look like in the next decade or two. Then the city’s zoning and land use policies will be rewritten to match those goals. Lorain has been hit by high levels of poverty and unemployment in recent years, but officials hold hopes of transformation and rejuvenation for the steel dominated community west of Cleveland. Mayor Chase Ritenauer said everyone was in agreement that the city needs to turn the page on its recent struggles.

“But this is a time for those big ideas, how do we get there?” asked Ritenauer.

Organizers used several methods to gather feedback during Wednesday night’s public meeting at the Palace Theatre. Included was a ten-foot map where people placed red dots on parts of the city where they thought development should be focused. Most of the dots ended up along Broadway Avenue, downtown’s main thoroughfare. Newcomer Trudy Salim says the steps the city should take are pretty obvious to any visitor.

“They come to the Palace but there’s nothing to keep you here, to stay, besides come to see a show and leave," said Salim.

City officials and the planning consultants they’ve hired expect to present a plan to city council in spring of next year. 

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