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A sudden change in rates were due to regulations made by the Federal EPA and a concern about Lorain’s out-of-date water and sewer lines, Ritenauer said.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