I’m looking at pieces-parts of the MJ and Chronicle from the last 2 weeks. Torn apart by a multitude of emotions. I want to jump and holler “Hell Yea!” I want to throw my hands in the air and scream “What the devil took you so long?!” And then I want to ask two questions: “The police are going to do it? Why not the Building Department?” and “What is the City doing with the $3+ million??” Sorry, that’s three.
Let’s start with Saturday’s Chronicle. The headline read “Lorain to businesses: Clean up or pay up”
City administrators will be asking downtown business owners to spruce up their properties-or else-in anticipation of the summer season and are offering financial assistance for those who may need it.
Those that ignore the request could find themselves cited by city inspectors.
April of 2008, I wrote this, wondering why our downtown looked like it did, when Vermilion, Norwalk, Amherst and Elyria’s looked like they did. In a nutshell? Someone on Amherst’s Design Review Board once told me: The business owners here really care.
It shows. There. And here.
So the City wants downtown cleaned up and spruced up for the coming summer season, which will include the ferry service to the Lake Erie Islands, the International Festival, Port Fest, the Perch and Walleye Festival and 4th of July festivities; all of which will draw crowds to Lorain.
Duh. Did someone just realize this?
Three days after I wrote that, I had a source of money for helping these owners. The article goes on to say:
The Business Development Loan Fund, the Title IX Loan Fund, the Commercial Facade Loan Program are programs available to help property owners who want to beautify their properties but may not have the cash on hand…
As Mike Kennedy of Kennedy’s Billiards said:
There’s no reason people can’t throw a coat of paint on their buildings.
So, there’s my first two exclamations.
In Friday’s MJ, the sub-headline reads:
Police emphasize citing derelict property owners
The plan is to reduce crime, specifically drug-related crime, by citing owners of derelict properties that pose a hazard to the city. I’m not going to mention FISI, but they are a little behind the times. Wasn’t it just a few years ago, a teen girl was raped in an abandoned house? Shouldn’t action have been taken earlier than this?
AND the police are going to issue the citations. The citations may be limited to littering/depositing of garbage, owner’s responsibility and dangerous building. They would be misdemeanor charges, but it is a start.
There’s my two questions.
Now, let’s talk about some money.
Flashing back to April 1st, The Chronicle ran a story about how Elyria is going to buy houses to demolish them. They are going to be able to buy 10 homes for $132,000, money that they got from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Eight of these homes will be razed, and two will be rehabbed and sold to moderate income families. Elyria hopes to buy 30 – 40 homes in the next few months, and homes that need more than $30,000 in repair work will be demolished. Deals were negotiated with several financial institutions, allowing the city to buy one home for as low as $5,000.
The program, set up by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has an accelerated timetable, meaning the funds will be used in the next few months. The grant is designed to help local governments acquire and redevelop foreclosed properties. Elyria got $2.4 million in grants,
Lorain got over $3 million from this program.
So, Mr. Mayor, what is the plan for this money?