Hello Everyone! After taking some time to get things (and myself) in order I am back and better than ever! I hope the same can be said for my hometown of Lorain, Ohio.This is a pivotal year for the International City on Lake Erie. There one perspective there are a lot of the same problems from the past plaguing the city. From another point of view there are exciting new things that may help Lorain emerge from its cocoon and be great once again. I’ve compiled a list of issues that will be important to the City of Lorain during 2016.
Maybe it’s something in the water but Lorain tends to breed the most gifted people on the planet. Lorain currently has authors, comedians, rappers, singers, models, athletes and fashion designers all making their mark on the world. Will someone from Lorain break through and give the city the shine it deserves
Over the past ten years, crimes including violent crimes such as murder, continue to fester in Lorain. Many members of the community have tried to combat this but crime still thrives. What will it take to lower crime in the city?
8. Police relations
People are becoming more and more concerned about the public’s relationship with the Lorain Police Department. The men at the top seem to have good rapport with the community. Everyone knows the majority of the men and women in uniform just want to keep the community safe and go home to their loved ones at the end of their shift. There seems to be a number of negative encounters with police officers in Lorain. Some of these encounters have come from model citizens not even J-Walking. Will the LPD find a way to bridge the gap between themselves and the community while still being tough on crime?
People are trying to bring the downtown back. The Palace Theater has implemented upgrades and are showing movies and shows. Major concerts by something of the country’s biggest acts have happened right on the river. More businesses and shops are beginning to open. There is still a lot of work and progress to be done but the downtown area has started off on the right foot. Will more people take chances opening businesses in downtown Lorain?
There appears to be a small group of politicians running the city. If you are not aligned with them, even if in the same party, then you are out. There have been candidates respected by both parties, rich and poor, all races and all economic statuses who had proven to be worthy of office in Lorain who were defeated by this group. Will the people of Lorain ever vote to dismantle this hold on power that this group possesses?
5. Midway Mall
I know, Midway Mall is Elyria. The mall still plays an important role with things concerning Lorain. Many Lorainites are employed at the mall. For people without transportation, the mall is the only place for major shopping other than Walmart. During the 1980’s the mall had so much business, it was hard to walk through the hordes of people. Now things are so bleak at the mall, there are only 3 eateries in the food court. There are just as many food places in other areas of the mall as there are in the actual food court, the place for food. Macy’s is set to close leaving 2 of the 4 giant retail spaces vacant. Sears and J.C. Penny have both fallen on hard times. Will the mall be around from 2017?
4. Steel Mill
Prior to the 1990’s just about everyone’s father in Lorain worked at the steel mill. My father used to tell me of days where so much work was being produced at the mill, no one could hang laundry outside or risk having your clothes turn orange. Earlier this year that steel mill that used to employ tens of thousands has gone idle. It went idle in the past but this is the first time where there is no foreseeable reopening. Will the steel mill ever reopen?
3. Local Economy
During its golden age, Lorain was full of stores and restaurants. Malls and big box stores evaporated Lorain’s small businesses. Those places have since fell victim to their same assault. Instead of waiting for luck to change or someone to come along with a grand idea to create opportunities, people are making their own ways. Barbershops, clothing lines, DJ’s, and real estate developers are popping up all over the city. People are taking control of their own financial futures. Will the consumers of Lorain continue to support these up and coming small businesses?
2. Community Activists
Lorain has always had citizens who cared enough about the community to take action. The biggest issue was no one knew each other. People were coming up with the same ideas and programs. Instead of having a collection of strong groups there were many small groups struggling to be efficient. Through social media and events people got to know each other and come together on projects. You know have a small collection of larger groups that have a bigger voice in the community. Will these groups have enough influence to get businessmen and politicians in the city to move in a positive direction?
Citizens scream for change, justice and a better way. Politicians make promises, kiss babies and sell dinners. All of this theater will last for a year until the only day that matters arrive, voting day. There was one particular candidate in a particular local election that left no stone unturned. He assisted with cookouts in the projects, and attended galas. He passed out supplies to the homeless and toasted celebrations with glasses of champagne. His opponent stuck with the champagne. In the end, his opponent had the right idea as only 40% of voters actually voted. The poor, disenfranchised, sick and needy were the 60% that stayed home and the candidate who cared the least about the community who did the least amount of work won by a landslide. Will the true people of Lorain show up to the polls to make a difference in the future?
What do you think of the topics on the list? Email me at email@example.com to let me know what’s on your mind concerning Lorain. We’ll revisit this list at the end of the year to see how things have changed.
Robert J. Moore