Fo­cus

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - LOCAL NEWS -

The event was an op­por­tu­nity for res­i­dents and of­fi­cials to come to­gether through trans­parency and un­der­stand of­fi­cial’s plans.

City plans im­prove­ments

Mayor Rite­nauer ex­plained im­prove­ment plans on city streets, com­mer­cial build­ings and an ex­ist­ing re­newal tax levy for emer­gency ser­vices on the May bal­lot.

He said there will be im­prove­ments on many road­ways, but one in par­tic­u­lar: Cooper Fos­ter Park Road will be up­dated and resur­faced.

Cit­i­zens also can ex­pect more work to come to the down­town area and other ar­eas such as the pre­vi­ous Spitzer Ho­tel on Broad­way, the Mei­jer gro­cery store at the for­mer Su­per K site on Leav­itt Road, a new streetscape on Broad­way with work that should kick off in the next few months and a num­ber of or­ga­ni­za­tions show­ing in­ter­est in com­ing to the in­ter­na­tional city.

Rite­nauer said much

of this will be pos­si­ble through the es­sen­tial help of what the Ohio gov­ern­ment does with the fi­nan­cial bud­get process.

He said any de­ci­sions made at the state level will im­pact Lorain and other ci­ties fi­nan­cially and what can be done lo­cally.

A very large con­cern made by most in Lorain is deal­ing with city util­ity bills, Rite­nauer said.

These bills in­clude trash, storm sewer, readi­ness to serve charge and EPA com­pli­ance, he said.

A sud­den change in rates were due to reg­u­la­tions made by the Fed­eral EPA and a con­cern about Lorain’s out-of-date wa­ter and sewer lines, Rite­nauer said.

The fed­eral EPA, with­out con­sid­er­a­tion of the city, de­manded changes which caused the higher rates or many penal­ties and fines would be levied against the lo­cal gov­ern­ment, he said.

“The bot­tom line was we could con­trol our own destiny or we could fall un­der the aus­pices of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment,” Rite­nauer said. “I didn’t want to do any­thing with our rates (nor) coun­cil, but the driv­ing fac­tor is to fol­low the Fed­eral Wa­ter Act.”

He said this plan keeps Lorain in com­pli­ance with

“With that, I’d say the 2019 out­look, I think, is go­ing to be an ex­cit­ing year for Lorain. I think it’s go­ing to be a year of do­ing, it’s go­ing to be a year of projects and push­ing for­ward on the gains we’ve made. Look­ing back on 2018, it is go­ing to be a year where we say it was a year of tran­si­tion and push­ing for­ward.”

— Lorain Mayor Chase Rite­nauer

the EPA, but he will con­tinue to work with them to hope­fully “halt” or “back off” on some of their reg­u­la­tions.

“With that, I’d say the 2019 out­look, I think, is go­ing to be an ex­cit­ing year for Lorain,” he said. “I think it’s go­ing to be a year of do­ing, it’s go­ing to be a year of projects and push­ing for­ward on the gains we’ve made. Look­ing back on 2018, it is go­ing to be a year where we say it was a year of tran­si­tion and push­ing for­ward.”

He re­called many have said the small shops and busi­nesses com­ing to Lorain couldn’t be done, but it is get­ting done.

“I look for 2019 and be­yond as a year where it can be done,” he said.

Crime rates de­creas­ing

Fol­low­ing Rite­nauer, a pre­sen­ta­tion on the city’s de­creased crime rates and trends in the last decade were shown by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Lorain Po­lice De­part­ment.

Al­though there have been de­creas­ing rates, Chief Rivera ad­dressed the pub­lic on the crime is­sues that are still oc­cur­ring.

He said the de­part­ment at­tempts to ad­dress all is­sues in the po­lice de­part­ment weekly in order to con­sis­tently con­nect to what is go­ing on, why it’s go­ing on, where these is­sues are tak­ing place and what needs to be done.

These at­tempts have helped with how much they city’s crime rates have de­creased,

but there is a need in keep­ing it that way so it does not af­fect the youth in the fu­ture, Rivera said.

To­day, some of Lorain’s youth are af­fected by the lack of sup­port­ive op­por­tu­nity they have within the com­mu­nity, so, they fol­low much of the trou­bled paths, he said.

Through the ef­forts of more com­mu­nity part­ner­ships be­tween the po­lice de­part­ment and or­ga­ni­za­tions like lo­cal schools and churches, the youth can have guid­ance that sup­ports them and pro­vides more pos­i­tive re­sources, he said.

Schools need to care

Hardy fol­lowed with a sim­i­lar dis­cus­sion fo­cused on the youth by shar­ing a story about a city that had no crime, no gov­ern­ment, no clergy. Its cit­i­zens sim­ply en­joyed life.

How­ever, this city had a se­cret. The se­cret was a child who lived in a base­ment go­ing hun­gry and suf­fered so every­one can live a happy life.

Peo­ple who knew of the se­cret would go and and feed the child, but didn’t know if they should let this se­cret con­tinue or fight against it.

Hardy shared many cit­i­zens

of this com­mu­nity de­cided to walk away from it to cre­ate a change.

He de­scribed Lorain’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem to be some­what like the story be­cause some have let it get to that point where stu­dents are not get­ting the ed­u­ca­tion they de­serve and some are OK with it.

He be­lieves many need to see the is­sues that have been part of the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem for too long and find so­lu­tions.

One of the is­sues he said were some stu­dents leav­ing Lorain’s sys­tem un­der­pre­pared.

Hardy said its stu­dents should have more op­tions or tools to see op­por­tu­nity to­ward goals in their lives whether it be a job or fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion.

He added many of the stu­dents have felt com­fort­able in this sys­tem to obey what is put in front of them­selves rather than hav­ing the voice to do what is right.

“I’m just rais­ing this up as a chal­lenge for this com­mu­nity to re­al­ize we, col­lec­tively, need to step up for our kids and re­al­ize our kids truly are our fu­ture and if we come to­gether, we’ll re­al­ize our out­comes for our kids are greater than we can imag­ine,” Hardy said.

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