Archive for March 22, 2009

Community Development- City Of Lorain

header_lorain_ohio City of Lorain

by Mark Teleha and Loraine Ritchey

The operative word here is
Community not limited to “commercial” but projects that benefit “the community of Lorain on all levels”
“We’re not independent free agents, we’re not able to just go willy-nilly.”

This time last year Mark Teleha ( Henery Hawk ) made the effort and interviewed the “people” of Lorain’s Community Development Dept. Graciously Mark has given me permission to re-run his series here –
duane-before Lorain Growth Corp

ED NOTE- The Duane building also took advantage of the CRA for this area for rehabs


Everything that Community Development does has been previously approved by the administration and, most times council.

“We’re not independent free agents, we’re not able to just go willy-nilly.” Development deals are all above the threshold that requires council approval: the sale of land requires council approval, administration approval, Board of Control.

So, first perception that we’re these rogue agents just doing whatever we want is definitely misplaced in a statutory city where we are the City of Lorain; we’re not separate and apart, we’re not different. We find it, sometimes amusing, as people say

‘There goes Community Development again, doing whatever it is that they do.”

So said Don Romancak,

and with that, my interview with the group of folks that staff Lorain’s Community Development Department began.

I (Mark Teleha) asked for the interview so that a lot of misconceptions and misperceptions floating around could be corrected and/or cleared up, and to be able to write about the responsibilities they have to and for the City.

I have to admit that I felt like a visiting dignitary or celebrity because I believe I met everyone, with the exception of the support staff. Sandy Prudoff, Chris Bauer, Janine Mackert, Don Romancak, Doug Rangel, Drake Hopewell, Larry Mitoff, Howard Goldberg and Rey Carrion,

all either sat down to talk or were kind enough to stop in and introduce themselves and offer whatever help I may need in the future.

Sandy Prudoff

“The building in that picture (pointing to a large wall poster) used to be the Tivoli Theater that was torn down, and with Council’s approval, we built that building back in on that parcel. So the City owns that, we lease that.

The building to the right of that (another poster) is the Duane Building. If you may recall, that building burned, it was entirely gutted. With City Council’s approval, and the Mayor’s, we loaned Jon Veard about $1.4 million, he put in himself several hundred thousand, and he’s been paying that back. And it’s always been a dream of ours to restore that.

A hobo had got in there, and was lighting charcoal on the wood floors to keep warm. And the shellac on the floor caught fire, … that building was almost destroyed.So with Council’s approval, that’s one of the examples of some of the things that we’ve done.

What we would like to do is the Black River Master Plan; the City owns all of this here (pointing north out the window) which was acquired in a deal with the Cleveland Port Authority. And we, the City, have a $6 million debt on this site, which is 30 acres. So, eventually we hope to have a development, which would be a mixed-use development on that. But those are the kinds of large undertakings that we do.
infill2 photos Mark Teleha seen here in the article Fair is Fair

We do a lot of smaller things in housing. Howard Goldberg and Drake Hopewell go and look for lots. On Reid, between 9th and 10th, we built 6 homes there, sold to private owners.”

Chris Bauer – “That was a focused-impact for housing.”

Sandy Prudoff – “We’re doing that on 10th and Brownell. We bought where the school was, we sub-divided into 9 lots. We have one being built, we have a second one with a commitment (to the lot) to build a house there. Probably by the end of this year, we should have 4, 5 or 6 homes on that site, all privately owned.

One thing about Drake, which is indicative of most of the staff here, and Doug doesn’t work for us, he works under contract with us. His agency is independent. He takes care of all the financing and business loans.

However, he plays an important role because he helps us structure major developments.


March 22, 2009 at 1:06 pm 10 comments



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March 2009