FOR SALE: PARK, WWI MON­U­MENT

Coun­cil voted to seek bids on land

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Richard Pay­erchin rpay­erchin@morn­ingjour­nal.com @MJ_Jour­nalRick on Twit­ter

For sale: One city mon­u­ment to res­i­dents who died in World War I.

Vet­er­ans groups, his­tory buffs or sculp­ture en­thu­si­asts will get a shot at buy­ing Lorain’s mon­u­ment to the city’s na­tive sons who died de­fend­ing free­dom in the Great War.

On Nov. 5, Lorain City Coun­cil voted to sell two parcels of land that make up Vic­tory Park, the tri­an­gle-shaped plot at the in­ter­sec­tion of West Fifth Street and West Erie Av­enue.

The Coun­cil vote came less than a week be­fore Vet­er­ans Day, the na­tional hol­i­day that started as Armistice Day, com­mem­o­rat­ing the end of fight­ing in World War I on Nov. 11, 1918.

The Lorain land in­cludes the large white “V” for vic­tory and the mon­u­ment, which is a pedestal and statue of Vic­tory, car­ry­ing a sword and palm frond to sym­bol­ize tri­umph.

Safety-Ser­vice Direc­tor Dan Given de­ter­mined the land is among nu­mer­ous parcels that the city owns, but that are not needed for city pur­poses.

Given also “has de­ter­mined none of the parcels of real prop­erty were ded­i­cated to the city for use as park land,” ac­cord­ing to the city leg­is­la­tion.

Coun­cil­woman at-Large Mary Springowski op­posed the move, as did Ward 4 Coun­cil­man Greg Ar­genti and Ward 8 Coun­cil­man Joshua Thorns­berry.

“The rea­son I’m op­posed to this is be­cause this is the World War I me­mo­rial, the me­mo­rial to the Great War,” Springowski said. “This is the an­gel that with­stood the Great Tor­nado of Lorain and it’s a tes­ta­ment to the re­silience and the per­se­ver­ance of not only this city, but of this coun­try.

“And I am very op­posed to tak­ing that away from the res­i­dents of this city, and I think that it needs to re­main.”

If main­te­nance is needed, Springowski said she would com­mit to help and the city should sound the call for vol­un­teers to as­sist.

“It is a very im­por­tant me­mo­rial,” she said. “We can­not for­get these brave sol­diers who de­fended this coun­try dur­ing the Great War.”

Ward 6 Coun­cil­man An­gel Arroyo Jr. asked if the mon­u­ment would stay in the city and if any vet­er­ans groups op­posed the sale.

So far, no op­po­si­tion has

sur­faced, said Mayor Chase Rite­nauer.

It was un­clear if the me­mo­rial would move.

Rite­nauer said if there is a win­ning bid, the stat­u­ary could re­main, but the city does not want to see the parcels fall into a state of dis­re­pair.

The me­mo­rial could find a new home at Me­mo­rial Row in the north­ern part of Lake­view Park, said Coun­cil­man at-Large Mitch Fal­lis.

There is merit to mov­ing it there be­cause the mon­u­ment would be among other trib­utes in an area with more pub­lic park­ing and vis­i­tors, Fal­lis said.

A vet­er­ans group has ex­pressed in­ter­est in the prop­erty where the mon­u­ment sits, he said.

It was un­clear ex­actly when the city would so­licit bids for the land.

The park sits next to the Dis­abled Amer­i­can Vet­er­ans Louis Paul Proy Chap­ter 20 unit at 1319 W. Erie Ave.

Springowski said she and her friends called it “the an­gel statue” when they were chil­dren.

It was the only thing left stand­ing when houses across the street were flat­tened in the Great Tor­nado of 1924.

On a per­sonal note,

Springowski said she had an­ces­tors who fought and were killed in World War I.

She pleaded with Coun­cil to hold onto Lorain tra­di­tion and leave the park alone.

“It’s al­most like we’re dig­ging up a grave,” Springowski said.

The war me­mo­rial was ded­i­cated in 1922 with great fan­fare, ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle from lo­cal his­to­rian Dan Brady.

Brady has writ­ten about Vic­tory for his on­line ar­chive, Brady’s Bunch of Lorain County Nostal­gia.

Af­ter the statue was erected in Lorain, the frond and sword blade ap­par­ently

were lost in the Great Tor­nado of 1924, ac­cord­ing to Brady’s blog.

They were re­stored in 1948 by Au­gust Nabakowski, and Brady found a Black River His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety pho­to­graph that ap­peared to show the re­stored mon­u­ment some­time shortly af­ter that.

Vic­tory be­came a vic­tim of van­dal­ism when the sword blade and palm frond dis­ap­peared.

In 2013, civic and vet­er­ans groups, in­clud­ing the DAV, be­gan a new restora­tion ef­fort. Lorain res­i­dent Ed Fer­raro recre­ated the blade and palm frond in Vic­tory’s hands.

RICHARD PAY­ERCHIN — THE MORN­ING JOUR­NAL

Lorain City Coun­cil voted Nov. 5 to sell two parcels of city-owned land that make up Vic­tory Park, Lorain’s mon­u­ment to her na­tive sons who died in World War I.

RICHARD PAY­ERCHIN — THE MORN­ING JOUR­NAL

A statue at Vic­tory Park, Lorain’s mon­u­ment to her na­tive sons who died in World War I, is part of what Lorain City Coun­cil voted Nov. 5 to sell.

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