LPA- School for Thought or Container Port that is the Question!

April 5, 2010 at 11:03 pm 7 comments

I admit it I am biased when it comes to the Lorain Port AuthorityI like the LPA!
Many years ago when I saw the big “Question Mark” sign go up on the weedy trash filled area that ran along the railway tracks and the Black River I was very curious what the answer would be.

It seems that we have enjoyed the answer to that “Question” for so many years now that maybe we have forgotten what it used to be like. So once again I will reprise part of an article written on the now non available WoM Blog back in 2005.
In fact I have written about the Port any number of times you can access Lorain Port Authority articles here
I would suggest a refresher course of the history of the LPA by visiting their website (history)

Photo Paula Tobias

The Lorain Port Authority is not just about shuttle boats and the Jet Express- positive as they are in drawing people to this community – take a look at the last twenty years on that page- I think you will be suprised – and check out the projects page

It was due to the diligence of some of the LPA Board members that part of the land now open to so much debate was saved from being tied up in legal options by the Shawnee Tribe and the last administration and city council ( all but Anne Molnar)) supported that proposal which would have tied us up for years . Even the then incoming candidates got on the “Shawnee Bandwagon”
Candidates rush to fill Lorain seat

Snodgrass also said he supports the Eastern Shawnee Tribe’s proposed $100 million casino-resort on the former pellet terminal site and Black River Landing and said the city should help market the Lorain Assembly Plant site and focus on repairing the roads.


A picture is worth a thousand words!

Lorain Harbour 1894










and more to come …the jet express!!!!! Check out the link
photos courtesy of the LPA

In this time of toing and froing and questions being asked answers should come from a position of foresight but also bearing in mind the “hindsight” and what is feasible not just “visions”. BUT what can be realistically accomplished, Visions are all very well if the smoke of polarization doesn’t blind us in the process to those that have brought into fruition many of the projects we so enjoy today .

Photo -Photo credit: Captain Albert E. Theberge, NOAA Corps (ret.)

Since containers are cheaper to fabricate new than to ship back for refilling, they are generally used once and discarded

I checked out the Houston Container Port when I was in Texas last year, security comes pretty expensive but you might also want to check out this article by Andrew Boyd.
However maybe we could go green and put the unused shipping containers ( and there will be some ) to better use

“Shipping containers have been used for housing in several European cities over the last several years and now Detroit-based architect Steven Flum has proposed using used shipping containers for a 17-unit, 4-container-high residential development near a local university. The project is expected to cost 25% less than an equivalent traditional development. Since containers are cheaper to fabricate new than to ship back for refilling, they are generally used once and discarded, which creates an environmental concern in hub cities around the world

. Image courtesy of “The Power of Green Housing “

Hey I am just thinking ahead πŸ™‚

I would suggest we look at all sides of the “question” before coming up with the answers – we are going to have to “live” with those decisions , no matter whose vision gets the “site” for a long time. Those whom are elected to speak for us need to more than “surface dwellers” like the rest of us when it comes to making “our ” decisions.

Cra(p)s anyone???????? πŸ˜‰


Entry filed under: city of lorain, Lorain Port Authority, opinion. Tags: .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. wildthane  |  April 6, 2010 at 1:20 am

    Bravo! Such an inspiration! I’ll be running around snapping befores for the next week. I then intend for this little municipality in Upstate NY to follow the path you have so graciously shared. Best wishes, A.

  • 2. Brian  |  April 6, 2010 at 11:50 am

    The only land that is “ready to build on” is the Ports property that the boat launch is on and the site at Admiral King with some relocating of buildings and facilities.

    I doubt that there is enough time to “assemble the properties at the other suggested areas”, therefore it is a choice between one, or the other.

    The students will benefit from a new school with new surroundings at either location, but can the riverfront property create any NEW OPPORTUNITIES that would benefit our children, or is it being done strictly for the sake of building something because nothing else has been created beyond a building that is underused, and a festival ground.

    I take my hat off for what the Port Authority has been able to accomplish over the years, but like the “transportation hub” that transports no one, the boat launch benefits a select few for the monies that was invested.

    I somewhat like locating the school on the riverfront IF the property can be used to ENHANCE THE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR CHILDREN BEYOND WHAT COULD BE OFFERED AT THE SCHOOLS CURRENT SITE.

    The discussion of the location SHOULD NOT BE WHAT IS IN IT FOR THE CITY, BUT WHAT IS IN IT FOR OUR CHILDREN. I would love to see Lorain High have a rowing team that competes with schools that are acedmically advanced. This also promotes our waterfront. The question then becomes, can the Port Authority support giving the property up to support the kids, or does it think that if they hold onto it long enough that there will be better opportunities for the property?

    Creating classes that deal with the enviroment and urban studies and getting the children thinking about solving some of our worlds problems, would also lend itself weel at the riverfront.

    Schools are not “economic engines” that spur development. Just look around the schools today and we can see that. Find a way to bring the administration building to our downtown and their millions of dollars in payroll, that would do more.

  • 3. Loraine Ritchey  |  April 6, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Well the Oxford /Cambridge boat race ihas been a winner for many years in fact Cambridge won the race three days ago ( were you watching πŸ™‚
    and I spent many a great time in my wicked youth at the Angel Pub. Henley on Thames watching boat races you think Lorain would be up for another “pub”
    However these things have already got “history” πŸ™‚

  • 4. Dennis Lamont  |  April 6, 2010 at 3:08 pm


    If you take a look at this website or any of the sites on the heartland corridor you will see the future of container shipping to and from this area. Year ’round large scale and very efficient. The ocean ports take the largest container vessels, sort them and ship the unit trains out.

    There is still millions of tons of shipping capacity unused at the steel plant for boats that can get under the Henderson Dr. Bridge with wonderful access to rail and truck without going through the heart of the city.

    IMHO the biggest “hint” as to what Lorain wanted to do with the lower part of the river was Harborwalk. Right on the best industrial location in Lorain to park a 1000 footer.

  • 5. Loraine Ritchey  |  April 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Hi Dennis a a quick google search gives you THIS

    Here you go more suporting evidence ( if you want to know the shelf life of a shipping container just google environmental concerns shipping containers

    Using cargo containers as building blocks is certainly a sustainable one. There are literally millions of used cargo containers available, as they have a short 2-3 year useful life on the high seas and on truck and railways thereafter. They are relatively inexpensive, provide structural integrity as a building component, and can be painted, fabricated with openings for doors and windows, and have necessary additions such as insulation, drywall, plumbing and other creature comforts added to them, just as is the case with any other building. And it takes far less energy to reuse a shipping container than to fabricate steel components for a building from scratch.


    One hundred million container loads crisscross the world’s oceans each year in over 5,000 container ships. There is a very big chance that a lot of the stuff you own or buy came to you in a shipping container. But these shipping containers create problems too. After they are used a few times, they become used shipping containers and nobody wants them. These containers currently have no real use since it is not cost effective to return empty containers to their point of origin. One estimate is $900 per container for the average return trip.

    and you really want that port πŸ™‚

    One reason: cargo ships run on “bunker fuel,” the dirtiest, cheapest product that remains after gas and other high-grade fuels are refined from crude oil. Bunker fuel contains up to 5,000 times more sulfur than diesel. As a result, according to Bluewater Network, a division of Friends of the Earth, a single container ship emits more pollution than 2,000 diesel trucks.

    Ballast is another issue. Modern cargo ships hold within their hulls millions of gallons of water, which is moved around to ensure the ship is properly trimmed, improving safety and speed. Ships routinely exchange ballast water while in port as cargo is loaded or unloaded. The water pumped out of the ship is alive with organisms from ports previously visited. One analysis of ballast water from foreign ships entering Canada found as many as 12,392 marine creatures per cubic meter. The survivors often invade their adopted homes, sometimes wreaking havoc; the zebra mussel fouling the Great Lakes is just one example.

    I think a more likely spot would be the Ford Plant area that was designated as a “container port in the West side URDA report πŸ™‚

  • 6. Dennis Lamont  |  April 6, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    100% agreement on Baumhart Rd. ….talking to several port people the biggest problem would be CofE procedures. Huron on the other hand just abandoned a grain shipping facility and has a large MT dock that was used for pellets. This is all connected to WLE that runs by the two largest grain elevators in NW Ohio (Clarksfield, Monroeville). There is also a direct connection to shipping facilities in Sandusky. Cleveland is in the process of moving their dock facilities to 55th st and converting the old docks to mixed use (hint, hint). The report that the Cleveland Port Authority issued on container shipping is not exactly positive

  • 7. Loraine Ritchey  |  April 6, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Yes those container ports need to be looked at very very very carefully ……not just from the surface, I would be only too happy to take a group to Felixstowe if they paid my way πŸ™‚ the noise alone is amazing and to think we in the village used to complain about the coal cars and the beep beep of the moving around of the pellets…..birdsong in comparison πŸ™‚

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