Last week I wrote a post re the loan program for the City of Lorain.
I dwelt upon what I considered failures or spending “money for old rope” . Doug Rangel- Director Lorain Development Corp. was very informative and helpful when answering my questions at the time. I believe the information should be shared so I asked Mr. Rangel to not only respond to the post but to tell the readers a little of how the program works.
The loan programs we offer are similar to SBA loans in that we typically finance the middle 30-40% of loans that is sometimes the difference between companies being able to operate or being able to open.
Typical bank financing for commercial entities will allow for 70-80% with owners needing to provide 20-30% of their project costs which some may not have or its uses all of the owner’s available cash. The program that the City offers allows project costs to be split where bank does 60%, an owner only being required to put down 10% with the city’s program lending 30% in the middle. This allows owner to save some additional cash as reserves in lieu of putting everything in and having nothing to lean on if necessary. These funds are development loans for those businesses that do have more risk than others.
The amount of money down for an owner can sometimes be a challenge and lack of available cash/working capital can certainly hurt a business. In an ideal world, all companies would pay to terms but that does not often happen with terms getting stretched and it’s typically the smaller businesses that get impacted. This is why businesses need lines of credit for these short term borrowing needs. During the downturn, numerous companies had their lines of credit either reduced or simply eliminated thereby impacted companies cash flow.
You note in the article that Lorain Development Corp. is funded by three sources but to further expound that, the funds that are used is the interest earned on these business loans that have been made in the City over the past thirty years. This is interest earned on the capital base of the loan programs which offset costs of operating the programs. On average, the cost of my annual contract is about 40% of interest and fees paid. This does not include regularly scheduled principal payments or early repayment of loans.
On the Prime Industries loan, City made initial loan in 1997 to Prime Design as well as the $100K in 2000 which was repaid in full with the sale of company to the Persicos in 2002. I don’t have an amount because that file is archived, but City likely earned over $100,000 in interest on that loan during its term. Prime Industries did indeed borrow $400K for initial deal as well as $100K in 2008 so they only borrowed $500K. During this loan term, they have paid the City approximately $300K which includes around $165,000 in interest and fees.
All lending institutions have these issues which is sometimes the primary source of repayment (cash flow) is inadequate to repay loans and we then need to look to secondary source of repayment which is typically the collateral and that is buildings. No lending institution wants to have to take back a building but sometimes it is necessary to recoup loans funds to preserve as much as possible but again not always likely particularly with where building values have gone lately.
We will continue to do economic development in hopes of growing the City, which is just like a business. The City needs cash flow to operate and its main source of revenues in payroll withholding taxes. As we create additional job opportunities, it should lead new or expanded payroll in which the City would realize additional tax revenues. As revenues grow, it allows for additional opportunities or to maintain what we already have.
As I look at your analogy of old rope being put into ships, I’m sure that even those patches needed to be replaced again and again and sometimes entire planks needed to be replaced and when ships were so old, they were likely taken out of service. Not to worry, I’ll bet they replaced them with new ships. The City and economic development can be thought of in the same vein. When businesses begin to fail and leave, we try and replace them with another business and that sometimes needs a more comprehensive repair to keep the building usable. Buildings do have shelf lives and sometimes just need to be replaced in whole. Sometimes it’s best to replace one building with another. This is our City and I want to work in my time here to leave it a better place than when I got here.
Potential business loans can either be a request from an existing business (looking to expand or grow) or new business to the City. There are many different ways people track me down about programs. Sometimes it’s just looking at City website; contacts from within City like through Mayor’s Office, Community Development, now Building Housing and Planning; referrals from Team Lorain County (county economic development arm) or Lorain County Community Development; Lorain Port Authority or referrals from others businesses I have worked with. It is sometimes just a cold call a business is looking for assistance. While the loan program is a major part of LDC, I do work on other projects that sometimes do not involve City loans. Sometimes I simply act as a business liaison to help answer questions.
A lot of calls I take, people are simply asking about loan programs and any other incentives. Most cases this is a simple explanation of the programs of how they work and what is required. A large percentage of these calls usually end without ever hearing back from them. There are some that take it further and I usually sit down and meet with some to further discuss the programs and the process. I usually get more specific information from these people on their plans for a business.
In most cases, I ask about their business plan and in many instances, the plan is in their head but not on paper. This is where I inform them that before filing out an application, they should complete a written business plan as a way to see if the business will generate sufficient funds to operate as a going concern. At times, people realize that it is more costly to operate a business when they begin doing their financial projections as they realize the number and amount of expenses necessary to run a business.
There is help for people through Ohio’s Small Business Development Centers
http://www.scacog.org/Home.aspx which help people put together business plans that they can use to identify the sources of funding their business to match up against the use of business funding. The business plan gives them a blueprint for they will need to open and operate their business and gives the funding sources an idea of the individuals understanding of the business to determine whether they understand all of the factors involved in starting up a business as well as the continual operation.
When a business plan is ready, I provide an application which is submitted with the business plan and financial statements and projections.
The programs we use has a funding breakdown of 60% private financing like banks; 30% city loan funds and 10% owner’s equity. While we only require 10% equity, we typically like to see additional resources available to owner’s if the need arises. In these situations, the City is typically a second mortgage lender behind the Bank’s first. We require personal guaranty of debt by business owner’s and sometimes require additional collateral by owner’s.
Each project is somewhat unique so there is no standard answer. Once I have received completed information, I review the package and look to see the feasibility of the project. Does it make sense, are the numbers realistic, is there a need for the services or products in the area. If everything makes sense,
(1)I prepare a loan write-up that provides a background of the project with financial information and the justification for approving the loan.
(2)Once I have completed, I provide this to the loan board for their review and approval.
We do this process just like bank’s credit teams do and have discussion and if everything is okay, loan approves the credit. They can also reject loan requests or modify them though these do not happen too often.
The loan board are various professionals in insurance, banking, law, small business owners, etc. who all live in, work in or own businesses in the City of Lorain. This board has been a self-appointing board since its inception and they are not appointed by administration or council. Board tries to keep a mix of professionals on board so it is not all bankers or attorneys but a mix. They are an all-volunteer board and most of these individuals have been on board from a few years to one person who has been on board since inception over 25 years ago.
Once the board approves the loan credit, all loans are submitted to Board of Control for approval as they will eventually sign for the loan.
Once board of control approves, we move to documentation of loan with all documents reviewed and approved by City’s Law Department. At that time, we also open a purchase order to commit money and submit check requests when we receive necessary documentation requesting funds.
Loans are derived from two sources, one through HUD http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD and the other through the Economic Development Administration.
All loans come from the dedicated accounts that are solely set aside for this purpose. Since I have been here in 2000, the City has deposited no new funds into these accounts, we simply recycle the payments we receive from existing borrowers. This is why they are called revolving loan funds as we only provide loans to the extent there is money available in these accounts.
Monthly payments made are broken down into principal and interest payments. We have a dedicated loan system that tracks these payments and the breakdown. The contract LDC has with City is derived from the interest payment made by borrowers to the City. By having more interest than expenses, the City has grown the capital base of the RLF portfolios.
A few of the good examples are:
Larger: would be Camaco which was a startup with a 60,000 s.f. building and has continually grown to about 200,000 s.f. and employees about 400 people. Camaco has paid back all of its loans and currently has no obligations to the City.
A medium size business could be Trademark Global, who was also the first company out at Ford plant. They went from a 40,000 s.f. building in Avon to 100,000 s.f. at Ford and grown further to 150,000 s.f. We have made some small loans to them for equipment and all of those have been repaid in full.
A smaller business could be my first loan I made in 2000 with the Castro brothers who own Scorchers. They took two old tired buildings and transformed them into a single watering hole that has become a fixture. They are less than one year from repaying their loan with the City. If you have a chance, please visit Wil and Dennis Castro at Scorchers and ask them about this program. There are others who have had varying degrees of success.
I like to think that we have been moderately successful in that we have more money each year to lend as a result of good loans though we do occasionally have hiccups like any lender.
I know this is longer than what you were hoping for, but I want to make sure that everyone understands this is sometimes a long process to earn a loan approval, that these loans are just not handed out like candy at Halloween. The City can only continue to offer this program if we have funds to lend. Not only do we need to grow as a City but we need to grow as a County and as a region.
Words – I like words – I don’t like grammar (as regular readers have sussed http://www.thefreedictionary.com/sussed – but I do like words .
I like the origin of words and sayings.
MONEY FOR OLD ROPE –
Rope made from hemp had a limited lifetime. When it wore out it was picked apart and recycled. It was used for caulking. Rope fibres (known as oakum) were hammered into the seams between planks of a ship and hot pitch was poured over it. This was done to waterproof the ship. Of course you got money for the old rope. The phrase came to mean money for anything (seemingly) worthless.
It takes a great deal now to get me out of my lethargic and apathetic state. Mostly, I read the news of Lorain and elsewhere and shrug. Been there done that – tried to fix it- and the scum still rises to the top of the pond .
Stagnant , anchored in apathy, every once in a while my previous curiosity will surface. Last week was one such occasion -I noticed in the reading of City Council Meetings March 16th – an ordinance passed by all members of city council, with very little discussion with the Director, Doug Rangel- of the Lorain Development Corporation-
http://www.cityoflorain.org/economic_community_development/lorain_development_corporation which is funded by three sources ( basically coming back to we, the taxpayer)
NOTE: A follow up post explaining how Lorain Development Corporation operates will be the next post on this blog
The exchange between council and Director Rangel can be found here- page three
pertaining to a property found at 1817 Iowa Avenue- Prime Industries.
Unfortunately I remembered $100,000 dollars with much hoopla being given to Prime Industries. http://www.loraincounty.com/manufacturing/feature.shtml?f=12666
and media success stories such as the Morning Journal article October 2010- ALL “SOUNDED” VERY PROMISING
Local customers include amusement park Cedar Point, which turns to Prime Industries for safety harnesses for its gravity-defying rides.
In addition to making new parts for Cedar Point, Prime Industries refurbishes safety harnesses after thousands of roller-coaster passengers have worn them out…..
… Other local customers include Invacare Corp., in Elyria; Bettcher Industries, in Florence Township; Nordson Corp., in Westlake; and Latanick Equipment Inc., in Huron. Prime Industries also makes parts for missiles built by Lockheed-Martin for use by U.S. armed forces in Iraq. With more than 500 customers, the company started as a division, called Advanced Foam and Plastics, of Kindt-Collins Co., based in Cleveland
The headline is a bit misleading( prospers???) because halfway through the article the history states:
Advanced Foam and Plastics was created to serve the foundry industry, but by 1984 it was known as Prime Design.
In 1997, Prime Design received $292,000 from Lorain to relocate here from Cleveland, creating 22 jobs.
A $100,000 loan from the city in 2000 helped expand, but by 2002 Prime Industries was up for sale
First, Rich and Joe Persico paid off the $292,000 loan from 1997, and then put up $145,000 of their own capital.
“Then” the city of Lorain loaned them $400,000 and a Warren bank also loaned them $400,000 in 2002 Prime Design became Prime Industries.
In May 2008, Lorain loaned the company $100,000 to gain new contracts.
That is $600.000 by my calculations we have had some back in the employee income tax but still money for old rope imho.
Oh my ! the money tree that is government, because now- today- Lorain is wanting to “enter into a loan assignment agreement to accept a priority mortgage position in lieu of a guarantee to the purpose of taking back the building ( 1817 Iowa)
AND then what do we do with the building- will wonders never cease We will try and sell it , lease it to a business and try and put some shops back there.
Sourced with permission http://thecrossedpond.com/2008/11/19/pond-scum-23/
There it is again the Lorain Mantra for spending money to get money – It will bring us jobs- it will save jobs- it will promote Lorain- Money for old rope????
Let us segue back to just a couple of the buildings that we have acquired in Lorain’s downtown through similar circumstances . The belly upping of Allegiant Medical Equipment– again touted with much hoopla when it arrived:
737 Broadway – leased to a non profit The Lorain Arts Council for $350. a month.
But at least the City of Lorain doesn’t have to pay property tax on that one as it is leased to a non-profit!. Lorain gets $350 a month and the hope of visitors along Broadway.
The 770 Broadway again loans and getting it back
which was supposed to be rehabbed after the loan fiasco on that property didn’t end up with what we were told
” The company( American Demolition) will tear down part of the building and restore the interior and exterior of the remaining section. Contractor Don Buchs worked with architect Gary Fischer of Arkinetics to develop the plan for the 14,640-square-foot building.
The northwest portion of the building will be torn down to make way for tenant parking and a trash container and the south side, the retail areas along West Eighth Street, would also be demolished.
“Within weeks of buying it, we find out that it’s totally useless,” said Councilman Dan Given, D-at large.
Given called the purchase of the building by the administration of former Mayor Tony Krasienko a “debacle,” and Given had the wording of the ordinance for advertising changed so that new Service Director Robert Fowler must get Council members’ approval before signing off on any sale.
We have the money thrown at St. Joe’s old hospital
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/st-joes-community-center-lets-get-fiscal-physical-lets-get-real/ and then
642 Broadway – again the loans , the acquiring the building. BUT the city of Lorain on this building has to pay property taxes of $12,750.00 yearly because this building houses two FOR profit tenants
Delta Pro which pays $630.00 per month- Looks like we the taxpayer are responsible for quite a bit . https://www.chamberofcommerce.com/vermilion-oh/7007905-black-river-audio-delta-productions
The other tenant is Follow the Fish – a much publicized media and county darling – an arts and events for profit business. https://www.facebook.com/FollowTheFishArtAndAdventureTrails
they are in the “business” of art , events and promotion .
Apparently they started off as a POP UP SHOP http://www.morningjournal.com/general-news/20121216/lorain-pop-up-shops-continue-business-downtown-during-holiday-season-with-videos for the holiday event of Light up Lorain– November 1st 2012 for two months and they were to pay, as the other Pop Up shops were supposed to do, the utilities ( no rent for that period) and an insurance coverage. – the lease expired on December 31- 2012-
Copy of lease conditions here
A lease follow the fish
Follow the Fish Adventure Trails(FFAAT) DID NOT, according to the city , pay the utilities for that two month period and have NOT paid any rent or utilities in the ensuring months all 28 months. The city has not received a copy of an insurance contract.
Presumably FFAAT have been earning income, one assumes, from their various fundraisers –
and fish sales and their 40% commission charge .
It would have been nice to have paid the taxpayers back for the time FFAAT have occupied the building using the space and utilities for various events and promotion of art works etc. Even if they paid the same as Lorain Arts Council $350.00 that $9,800 would have gone a long way in covering the $8,000 utility bill and the $30,000 in taxes during that time .
Follow the Fish Adventure Trails LLC latest looking for funding fundraiser, along with the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce is May 7th at the Palace Theatre
I am all for promoting Lorain and her businesses but at what cost to the taxpayer and when does losing money become acceptable?
And now back to the reason this post started Prime Industries. Curiosity as to why we were seemingly wanting a building back that had an outstanding tax bill of $184,815.82 . Doug Rangel Director of Lorain Development Corporation has been most helpful in replying to my myriad of questions as has Director of Public Building and Housing Leon Mason.
Doug Rangel answered my enquiry as to why???? :
“The real estate tax burden is one I will have to deal with and they for years had been trying to get a reduction because taxes were even higher than they are now. The loss of cash flow continued to hurt their ability to take larger jobs because while companies would say we will pay in 30 days, it would inevitably take longer. The situation that we have arrived at is not one we like to see but it is reality
More importantly, that legislation allowed me to take that first mortgage instead of going through a foreclosure and likely being wiped out. With this first and second mortgage, I can now complete foreclosure and work to recoup the dollars through a sale or lease of this property. County says its worth $818,000, though it was appraised at $2.1M years ago. Property values around here have taken a serious hit, just like homeowners. The devaluation of properties didn’t just hurt the residential market, but it also hit the commercial market as well.
What we have learned from the business environment over the past 6-8 years is that any business can be impacted even large ones though they have a better chance of surviving than the smaller ones.
This particular taxpayer understands the issues at hand BUT ( and there it is again ) when dealing with these city owned properties acquired through defaulted loans etc. I would ask can we please , when we take on these structures we at least break even when “leasing”, selling, whatever – just so it doesn’t cost us any more of “our dollars “ because as Maggie Thatcher ( like her or not) said : There is no such thing as public money, there is only tax-payers’ money.
A little over three months after my son’s death I wrote of his last Mother’s Day present to me – A small Ghost Koi
I was scared to look closer , maybe it was one of the pale goldfish , we have a couple. I couldn’t bring myself to go to the pond for a better look. I can still see my son kneeling by the pond and surreptitiously slipping in that Koi . Chris would check on the Koi every time he came home , he would ask in the hospital
“How’s the Ghost has it given up the ghost yet?”
I had told myself last summer I would look up how to keep this fish over the winter. Would I have to set up an aquarium for it?
I berated Chris for giving me that hassle and he just grinned at me again.
I got my courage up and took a deep breath and went to the pond. Yes the Ghost Koi had survived and slides silently among the gold and the dark water .
My Mother’s Day present survived and once again I saw in my mind my son’s grin
Every Spring since then I have waited for the ice and snow to melt – holding onto the hope the Koi will be there .
The disaster of taking down the Willow tree and changing the pond habitat .
The terrible cold of the winter before this when the waterfalls cracked and a temporary pipe was added to keep the water flowing in order to keep the fish alive during the bleak winter months.
This year Chris’ Dad winterized the pond once more. He insulated and wrapped the pipe, the pump and added another back up. When everything, including Niagara Falls, froze the little pond was open. His design worked , even Shadow could not be party to its demolition.
The birds that stayed, the animals wild and domestic all flocked to my little water source in order to drink and bathe. Still, I worried about the Ghost – he has become rather large- the biggest fish in the pond and will have called the pond home for 6 years.
Finally this weekend saw the end to ice , snow and frozen ground- a splash of gold and silver as the fish returned to the surface to feed and bask in sunshine – and there he was larger than ever- the reminder that love given freely that Mother’s Day reminds the world the Ghost existed and exists…….
Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.
– Benjamin Disraeli
After Chris died I struggled to find a way for me to “be”-
I failed the “me” is no longer the “me” . I met with my personal Gorilla of Grief
and he is with me still
I have learned- learned how to traverse the mine fields of grief, learned how to exist, learned , like one who is blind, to navigate through , learned when to rest , when to fight. The gorilla has been “trained” over these many months , I know how to find respite , to hide in the smiles and games of my grandchildren as I feel his presence- knowing if I let my guard down he will attack with a pent-up ferocity which will cripple me . He is dangerous- he waits.
And he can find you – no matter how well you think you have him under control. You realize he has sapped your strength and there is very little left to deal with the illnesses and life issues that befall those of us who continue to age. We age differently too- another of his gifts- there is a greyness – an aging process that accelerates – he causes the body’s defenses to be spread too thin. You realize you cannot keep this voracious animal at bay without there being a cost. The cost is not only emotional it is physical. You see the ravages on the face of your husband , the marks of the struggle etched there for those that remember the time before the gorilla. Your face no longer recognizable to you when you deign to look in the mirror.
In order to add strength you find you can and have to delete- yes! delete from your life those people and situations that also sap your strength. You can no longer afford the luxury of tolerance, patience and those people and situations that take or are superfluous to your well-being. There is something freeing in realizing you don’t have to anymore. They will not help you control and cage the gorilla. You also learn truth and transparency is not what people really want , they want such things yes- but in small doses, metered out- not all at once. You gather strength to “be” by not expending wasted energy.
And then you find yourself sitting in the parking lot waiting for a loved one to run an errand- a song comes on the car radio, you aren’t quick enough to turn it off, the damage is done and “We will rock you”
takes you back instantly to a soccer field at a Lorain Catholic High School ( also now dead) when life was happy and where no gorillas just camaraderie fun and hope. Too late- the gorilla is free, he tears at your gut, your breathing stops , tears flow so fast and get trapped between the rim of your sun glasses and cheeks , blinding you , your hands clench, nails driving into your palms hoping to stop this vicious beast – but he is too strong, memories fill your mind, crashing in upon each other and finally the wracking sobs explode once more. Time has been negated and you are back in a hospital room locked into the worst moments of your life – once more – The gorilla is free to do what he will ……
One of the hats I wear is as Co- chairman of a non -profit organization called Charleston Village Society (CVSI) The organization came about as a “neighborhood preservation” organization – we are NOT the local “historians” of Lorain that particular job of work falls to the Lorain Historical Society http://www.lorainhistory.org/ . CVSI wanted to preserve the dignity of this – Lorain’s oldest neighborhood, preserve her housing , the quality of life, the stories of her past and the people who walked the same street as we who helped bring about “Lorain” .Personally, along with others, her stories appealed and sent some of us on searches of her history- a difficult task as much of Lorain’s earliest history and therefore, this oldest neighborhood, was unwritten, word of mouth and “buried “. Thanks to the estate of Peggy Gillmore -a direct descendent of one of Lorain’s founding fathers , we have found out a lot more of “yesteryear” from old newspapers etc.
During the past couple of decades we have tried to work on those goals of preserving this old neighborhood and adding to it . You can find back reports here http://www.loraincounty.com/charlestonlorai/.
Unfortunately, our website does not allow for numerous photos and in segueing from the last post
I have reprinted our annual report here for 2014.
Charleston Village Annual Report 2014
The in-kind donations continue to help us thrive and survive with all the projects we have taken on in this Lorain’s oldest neighborhood. For every dollar in cash we receive three times the donations with in-kind support of materials labor and equipment. We could not attempt these projects or their upkeep without the partnerships and in kind donations. Such as the continuing sponsorship of our website https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/category/charleston-village/ a thanks to Emerge http://www.loraincounty.com/charlestonlorai/
As in previous years 100% of all money collected goes toward the project for which it is designated.
We filed our IRS form for our non- profit for 2015 and were, I am pleased to say, accepted
E-File Postmark: Filed January 19th 2015- accepted January 19th-2015
The Charleston Pioneer Cemetery continues to be in the capable of hands of Diane Wargo Medina and she is developing a new blog page: ( still under construction) https://charlestoncemetery.wordpress.com/
Without Diane , her volunteers , tenacity and passion over the past three decades this old cemetery would be non-existent. She has been the driving force once more planting, clean-up and preserving the history of the people buried there still as well as fighting the ongoing battle of keeping the headstones from disintegrating . Although the cemetery is owned by the
city , Diane has been its keeper!
Settlers’ Watch: continues to bloom. We had a courageous band of volunteers who braved the terrible rain the day of Pride day 2014. We did weed and mulch but the rain and mud put paid to most projects that day. Many thanks to Lorain Rotary members and our own CVSI volunteers.
The carvings from the tree lawn had to be removed and stabilized. The salt and weather etc has taken their toll, even though they were sealed every year.
Thanks to Carl Neilsen and the use of an indoor space, Ariel Vasquez, Frank Sipkovsky, Ernest Ritchey and Don Fugitt were able to work on the anchor carving. I am told it was a big job and the stabilization had to take place in stages. Thanks to Falbo Construction and new concrete plinths we moved the anchor to its new home along the Eric Barnes Heroes Walk.
The Lorain Lighthouse carving is due to be removed this spring to the Children’s Garden , the Portside Sign to the west of Eric Barnes Heroes Walk and the Heron will be at the entrance to the Marine’s Monument walk.
All the carvings are having to be stabilized and sealed once more . The Captain is still in need of a lot of work but hopefully, thanks to a donation from the Knights of Columbus we were able to purchase the very expensive chemicals needed.
The Admiral King Tribute Site
Many, many thanks once again to the Lorain Utilities Dept – under the direction of Ariel Vasquez and his crew. The donation and planting of the marigolds by Ariel Vasquez on Pride day brought a splash of colour in the much and mire of that day.
The Admiral King Site continues to draw interest on the internet and tourists. This year you could see the neighbors and community having picnics and waiting for the 4th of July Fireworks put on by the Port of Lorain. I am very pleased to say they were most respectful of the site and very little litter was to be found the next morning.Eric Barnes’ Heroes Walk – This year saw another feature added to the walk- The United States Marine monument ( Lofton Henderson Post) has been added. This too is a work in progress. However, the Marines held a dedication and erected a flagpole, with the United States of America Flag and that of the Marine Corps. Ariel Vasquez designed the area and the garden surrounding the place where the monuments will be placed in phase two.
We would be remiss if we did not mention one of our special volunteers . Joe Artim. Joe has been a wonder – you will see him every day working along the Eric Barnes Heroes Walk tending the garden areas of the young men who gave their lives for this community.
Joe has grown, purchased and planted so many wonderful plants. I cannot begin to describe how the area has flourished under his gentle care.
Joe also has been weeding and watering during the most dreadfully hot days and in the fall cleaned cleared and prepared the area of Settlers Watch.
The Crime Watch program continues to quietly look out for the neighborhood especially Veteran’s Park.Outreach and Promotions Committee
Once more the committee decorated for the Trains and Trees at Black river Landing – this year we not only had the Lilac Lorain tree but added another tree.
This tree was all about the ship captains and maritime history of this neighborhood. Donations for the trees came for the most part from the committees own pockets. Many thanks to Renee Dore, Frank and Carolyn Sipkovsky ,Don and Marianne Fugitt and Lisa Miller
Poster Boards and other artifacts were displayed at various “historical gatherings” and talks to various community groups continued .
We also continued the Guided Tours of Charleston Village and once again Frank Sipkovsky was your tour guide.
This year has not been all about successes. We continue to lose more of Lorain early history in her housing stock in this Lorain’s oldest neighborhood. Even there though there has been a bright spark , we lost the Gow House to demolition due to the fact it had been uncared for and empty for nearly 40 years.
Lorain County did however take another foreclosed home diagonally opposite ( the Coleman Home) and rehabbed the structure. Unfortunately it too had been bastardized of its original architecture by the “business of rentals” and chopping the home into two and three units.
We also lost one of staunchest and longest members – Peggy Gillmore- the last Lorain Gillmore descendent of one of the Founding Families of Lorain. I am pleased to say the heirs have rehabbed this over a century home but so much of Lorain’s history has once again been lost.
The items from Peggy’s home , papers and photos led us on a journey that continues to this day . I personally wrote a series on Peggy’s family when , what I believe to be an extremely important portrait was seemingly not wanted by those I believe should be in the business of preserving Lorain’s earliest heritage. The series can be found here
The General Gillmore Portrait is still in my living room, we have found those that would appreciate the portrait, the print of “Storming of Fort Wagner”and the genealogy of the Gillmore family etc. that will go with the portrait, However, we have, not as a group, had a vote on this as yet . The General and some of Charleston Village Society’s accomplishments were written about in Lorain County’s Pulse Magazine.
We were also able to give a framed original of a mid 19th century map of this old neighborhood to the City of Lorain.
The map was also part of Peggy’s memorabilia as well an original Bible which we believe to Alanson Gillmore’s church – Christian Temple Disciples of Christ. We believe this to be one of the pulpit bibles damaged due to the Lorain Tornado. We have returned the Bible to the church and they concur they too, believe it to be one of the pulpit bibles-.
The Chronicle Telegram, once again has also been very supportive when covering events over the past year.
CVSI contacted the city with regard to the parking overflow for the July Rover Fest event- there was and has been a lot of controversy of this event . Our main concern was the overflow parking being utilized by Eric Barnes Heroes Walk. I am pleased to say the security for the area was in place and in fact no problems arose from this event.
We are hoping to get the “pass the hat’ campaign off the ground this spring because as you see our finances are non-existent for the most part. We use every dollar donated 100 % goes to the project designated – This is 100% a VOLUNTEER organization
Our financials for the year end (2014) as follows. However, once again for every dollar donated 100% of the donation went toward the project for which it was donated. This is an “ALL” Volunteer organization
CHARLESTON VILLAGE SOC. End of year financial report 2014
Starting Balance carry-over 2013 $101.01
Ending Balance $101.01
Starting balance carry-over from 2013=$15.97
Donations 2014 = $275.00
Expenses 2014= $0.
ENDING BALANCE 2014 = $290.95
Starting balance carry -over from 2013= $43.35
Donations 2012 = 0
Expenses 2012 = 0
ENDING BALANCE 2014= $43.35
Starting balance carry-over 2013 = $19.76
Donations 2014 (Cash/Checks)= $695.00
Expenses 2014 = $597.74
ENDING BALANCE 2014= $117.02
Admiral King Tribute Site
Starting Balance carry over 2013 -$ 68.46
Donations Cash 2014 = $250.00
Expenses 2014= $96.75
Ending Balance 2014= 221.71
Eric Barnes Heroes-Walk-
Carry over 2013 = 447.99
Donations for 2014= $250.00
Expenses for 2014= $558.28
Ending Balance 2014= $139.71
We had a total of cash donations (including Gift Cards) in 2014 of $1,470.00 and our cash expenses came to $1,254.77 for all projects. A full accounting is available upon request.
As you can see our volunteers and in kind donors are the power that keeps the projects running. Without the donations of plants, rope, wooden pilings, aggregate, recycled benches, trash receptacles, paint, sealer, publicity, photographs and “at cost” and manpower none of these projects could be accomplished and maintained. The in-kind donations from our supporters are, by my estimation, 3 times the monetary value and are priceless. However all cash donations are gratefully accepted and CVSI is a 501c3 – Thank You
Respectfully submitted March 4th 2nd 2014 by Co- Chair CVSI Loraine Ritchey
A few weeks ago, I was interviewed for Lorain County’s PULSE Magazine by Kristen Hampshire. The experience was one of sheer pleasure, the professionalism with which Kristen handled the interview, made very difficult because I tend to ramble and give the “back story” before answering the question. The fact checking by the editorial staff, the photographer- Laura Watilo Blake, who was constrained by my boundaries.
The article Buried History leads off with the General Gillmore Portrait – unwanted , and the story that led to the 12 part series on this blog.
The cover , pronounced, Lorain’s little known identity of Treasure Town. I wonder how many in the county see Lorain and her buried treasure?
Kristen asked: ( paraphrasing)
Why do I embark on the history of Lorain, why is it important to you and yet like the portrait
inconsequential to most in this community?
I had been thinking about that very fact for a few days before the interview. Why do I care along with a handful of others ( even those that should care were unimpressed , didn’t even find the portrait worthy of a 1st look)? Why do a very few people get excited when uncovering Lorain’s stories but the majority of her 64,000 residents really aren’t bothered?
I believe, in my case, my penchant for theatre and years spent acting out the written word, the stories told , the donning of the character , the “fleshing out ” of that character as you read the script- the cold reading tells you the way of portrayal is part of the reason.
Kristen wrote :
” As Ritchey passes neighbors’ homes, she thinks about the people who have lived there. She sees the original plat of Charleston Village, and when she walks through Lakeview Park
she imagines the 21,000 grape vines once planted there……….”
The article continues but the gist of the piece will tell you – I imagine the way things were when I look at one of Lorain’s falling down and abuse of historical properties, the mega rental units in what once was a beautiful family home.
I can see the life before , the characters flesh out in my mind . I can see and hear Captain Wilford , his arm around his wife that night as the huge pleasure craft the The Alberta, came at the John Osborne cutting through the fog that night and into the wooden three-masted steamer .
Fannie Wilford’s terror can only be imagined as she stood with her husband, her children asleep below decks, a cruel ending to such a lovely day as the steel-clad Alberta towering above the little freighter bore down upon the hapless couple ……
The Alberta according to The Cleveland News Leader July 30th 1884 said of the Alberta. ‘This huge steel monster, during the few months she has been afloat has become the terror of the lakes. Proud of her reputation as one of the fastest side-wheel steamers on fresh water, she (Alberta) has been run in an extraordinarily reckless manner. “
“Tom! That boats going right through us!”
Very Quietly Captain Wilford answered
“I KNOW IT”
Behind the Waterfront (Bertram B Lewis)
“ Steam rushed from the freighter’s crushed boilers, the air was filled with shouts of seaman and those screams from those who had been sprayed by scalding water.”(Lewis) ……The steward, Mr. Austin (the same man who just hours before has held Sunday school services) rescued Addie and rushed her through the scalding steam holding his arm across his face and keeping the little girls face close to him. He handed her up to the deck of the Alberta and went back through the steam for the mangled and scalded sailors below”(HFMC)
I read this and like so many other actresses and actors, I flesh them out in my mind – they become more than print on a yellowing page, they become real! I take on their fear, their pain , their story- how would I portray my part. Is that why, as I look at the portrait of General Gillmore , reading his reports during the Civil War, I see the characters, I see the times in which they lived- they become people once more not just faded photos? The letters written by the same Fanny Gillmore – ( Wilford) who stood on a deck with her husband that night- the letters of life….
I see Fannie on her front porch, waiting- for who what – everytime I pass her house
And I get angry at the lack of respect. What I do know is their stories are important to Lorain, a town that needs a buried treasure , heroes and romance.
You can access PULSE MAGAZINE on line
( unfortunately this issue- Winter 2014 is not yet uploaded to the site- but you can contact Lorain County Chamber of Commerce . It is free to subscribers.https://www.loraincountychamber.com/