A Home in Veterans Park- a city up for rent!

June 15, 2011 at 12:58 pm 16 comments

This was not the post I planned for today. My post was going to be about people and pride. However, in the last few hours I have received numerous calls from neighbors and residents as to what is happening at Veterans Park and the surrounding area , the plaza, the internet cafe and panhandling , 8th street and the library .

Do you remember this post from a group of individuals in November 2010- under the nom de plume T Paine in the Open for Discussion serieshttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/open-for-discussion-guest-blog-the-limits-of-charity-t-paine/

It is a question that is being danced around in Lorain.
There have been at numerous meetings discussing the homeless, crime and general decay we are experiencing in Lorain. There are meetings regarding the growing homeless need. No one is looking at the root of the problem.

There exists in Lorain County a great disparity of social services. While everyone agrees that there is great need and that we should help those that are less fortunate, there should be limits to our assistance and an expectation of change as a result of our investment. If you look at Lorain and the disparity of services that we as a community provide compared to social services by all of the other cities in the county; then we in Lorain are either the nicest, most charitable people or the least intelligent. This would then mean that our surrounding neighbor communities are either made up of the most thoughtless or the most intelligent people.

I would suggest a reread of that post .

I am as compassionate as most and sometimes more compassionate than a good number of folks BUT
as I mentioned in an email ( hopefully it got through to the city email) last night mentioning once again the monument had been graffitied-
We cannot continue to have a few individuals create such an unpleasant climate of fear and unpleasantness when so many indivuals are trying so hard to focus on the positive aspect of a “downtown”

There are a few young miscreants that seem to be at the center of the activity in the park. I saw them this afternoon on their bikes playing chicken with the traffic by the old Smokes for Less. We need to step up security in this area. People put a lot of work into Veterans Park just last month it is a shame that a few are spoiling what has stood for centuries.
The new handrail the victim of the skateboard.

The homeless men ( one of whom apparently was groping himself – through his clothes as a female resident was walking through the park on a summer evening)settling down early in the evening so as to get the best bench- first come first served- ( what happened to the spacers so a bench could be made for sitting and not sleeping??)

Under the Foltin administration – when the fountain was broken one of reasons they didn’t want to spend the money to get it going was

the homeless wash their clothes and bathe in it

Yes that is true – and where I wonder do they hang their laundry out to dry – BUT why should the rest of us be denied a sparkling splashing fountain because of a few ???
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IF THE CITY OF LORAIN AND SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCIES INSIST ON BEING CHARITABLE THEN THE CITY OF LORAIN AND THOSE AGENCIES- SUCH AS THE ADULT PAROLE AUTHORITY – THE VARIOUS CHURCHES AND PROGRAMS- HAVE TO FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THEIR CLIENTS.

THERE IS A RESPONSIBILITY TO ALL WE DO AND THEY ALSO HAVE A RESPONSIBILTY TO THE REST OF THE THOSE OF US HERE IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD! AND REMEMBER “those charitable organizations have paid directors and staff they are also a “BUSINESS”


We don’t want our fellow-man to suffer-we want to help but with that help in doing so then you take on a responsibility of making sure your “clients” the people you are helping have all their needs met.

I know that there are situations where some folk wouldn’t go to a shelter to sleep – there are mental health issues-

BUT I also know that thanks to at least one now defunct “charity” -Compass House and the RSO – we have more RSO’s due to their “importation policy”- we are still feeling the ripple effect of that program.

Veteran’s Park is a memorial to freedom and those that fought for that freedom- Graffiti is unacceptable on that monument to freedom. The view of that monument has now been made more visible- we can no longer HIDE from our issues – not if we want a healthy downtown and neighborhood

So what are we going to do
about it?


What are we going to do about making sure those that are in the business of charity also provide the security to the rest of the population who also like to use the library , frequent the business around their organizations such as Catholic Charities on 8th street, walk through a park on a summer evening across from city hall and the police Dept.

After the council meeting last Monday where many Block Watch people were in attendance- I drove out of the parking lot to behind the police station to find two young miscreants up to no good hiding things in the dumpster next to the city storage shed- I was alone but I stopped asked them if there was a problem- was promptly told what I could do and how to do it- I just left part of me hoping they would get a nasty infection from the garbage.

How are you going to get people to “want to be downtown” when they are uncomfortable………

Ideas , I sure would like to hear some …………

We cannot continue to have a few individuals create such an unpleasant climate of fear and unpleasantness – (like it or not that is the perception of my neighborhood and our downtown )when so many individuals are trying so hard to focus on the positive aspect of a “downtown”

There has to be follow through and maintenance of not only our infrastructure , buildings, roads but also of quality of life and social needs. Otherwise just like the historic light that fell in Veterans Park last week – (did it fall or was it pushed;)- the lack of dealing with the problems head on will only result in more damage and destruction and the loss of “light”-

Is this the new icon for Lorain?

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Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, Charleston Village, city of lorain, commentary, Open for Discussion, personal opinion. Tags: , , , .

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16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. The captain  |  June 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    BW Cap :

    Maybe City Hall should set up THEIR OWN block watch seems they are in need of one

  • 2. thatwoman  |  June 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    You could well have a point there

  • 3. -Alan D Hopewell  |  June 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I’m a former resident of Lorain, and I’ve been homeless in the past. However, I don’t believe that the fact that a park is public gives anyone the right to use it as their living room, bedroom, bathroom, or laundromat. these people should be arrested, any and every time they show up.

  • 4. The Observer  |  June 15, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    The 500 lb. elephant is in the middle of the living room and everyone chooses to ignore.

    What is the Goal of Downtown Lorain?

    Do you want another Crocker Park? What is the closest Soup Kitchen or public assistance office to that area? Do they even have any in Westlake?

    I had read/heard that a homeless woman was found in Westlake and brought to a homeless shelter in Lorain.

    What do you want to attract?

    Lorain has a reputation for helping the homeless and those with psychiatric needs.
    Our need to help those less fortunate does not mix with the goal to attract money and a family atmosphere.

    No one talks about it as it can be seen as selfish and certainly not politcally correct.

    Make your choice Lorain, a destination point for the poor, homeless and those with mental diseases or a destination for business, tourism and ultimately more revenue for the City.

  • 5. “Is this the new icon for Lorain?” |  |  June 16, 2011 at 3:28 am

    [...] Read all about it at Loraine’s [...]

  • 6. Ron Nabakowski  |  June 16, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    You can curse the darkness or light a candle. Lorain has plenty of empty buildings in areas zoned for Industrial activity. Catholic Charities, Free Clinic, Community Action and others could create a place for the homeless to sleep in whatever weather and work on GED’s, health problems, job training,etc.
    This would get people away from a downtown –which should support five to ten times as many jobs as it now does. In a recent Shoppers Survey, people who do not visit downtown Lorain blamed their belief that it was both unsafe and dirty. Part of the reason for that belief is the city’s refusal to enforce building codes, but part of it is that the homeless wander around the downtown and its periphery somewhat menacingly…

  • 7. Jim Long  |  June 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Jim Long June 16

    With all the empty Catholic Curches in town i would think it would benefit the Catholic charities and the Church to combine their operations and facilitate them at one site. I have talked to people on the street that say they are from southern Ohio and Pennslyvania, they said the best welfare and local support of services are found in Lorain Ohio. We have become a destination point of social services that bleeds our economy and stagmates developement. All communities need to do their fair share, and Lorain needs to re train and rehabilitate not prolong services without retraining and treating the individual issues.

  • 8. thatwoman  |  June 16, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I certainly agree with the lack of enorcement . That has been an issue ever since I moved her 3 decades ago and NOW we reap what we haven’t sowed!

  • 9. Lisa  |  June 17, 2011 at 1:34 am

    It’s been a long standing joke in this town that the easiest place to break the law is right in front of city hall, whether you’re running a red light or skateboarding in the park. I know someone who had his photograph taken & published by the MJ as he skateboarded in VP about 10 years ago. The LPD wasted no time tracking him down and citing him for it then. Now everyone just looks the other way because they are intimidated by the children.
    After my last trip to the plaza downtown – the night the internet club was having a hootenanny in the parking lot – I will never ever ever EVER go back. I will drive to Sheffield Lake instead. WTF makes those bums think that I’ve got change to spare when I’m shopping at the dollar store my damn self?

  • 10. thatwoman  |  June 17, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Lisa a number of our neighbors walk through the park and to the plaza – we aren’t the wealthiest of neighborhoods. BUT they are “foot traffic” which is a much needed aspect to a healthy downtown. We are one of the few towns/ cities that have a residential neighborhood abutting the downtown business and a commercial district. hisotry of course was the reason for this…. settlers came built homes near their work places ( building ships – the port etc) and then merchants put their businnesses close to sell and supply the goods- just as our neighborhoods has deteriorated because the homes themselves deteriorated ( Postside CVSI in 1975 study was almost 100 percent owner occupied) so did our downtown.they lost foot traffic and a clientele that spent money not panhadled it.

    If people are feeling threatened by their surrounding they don’t come and they don’t stay…… if the surrounding neighborhoods are seen as unpleasant and people have to pass through those neighborhoods to get to a downtown they won’t come. and if they do get to their church or theatre or downtown event and they are accosted or made uncomfortable like you they will go elsewhere…….

  • 11. Paula Tobias  |  June 17, 2011 at 11:58 am

    So what is the Plan ? (oh please don’t tell me another study)

    Who will take the first step?
    Will all parties put aside differences and collaborate for the good of all?

    I hope we are not given excuses/reasons why not.

    Instead, why NOT!?!

  • 12. Peter Potamus  |  June 18, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Paula Tobias wrote:
    “So what is the Plan ? (oh please don’t tell me another study)

    Who will take the first step?”

    I’m not sure what the first step would be, Paula.

    Ron Nabakowski & Jim Long both brought up good points; Ron’s comment offers a plan of action.

    The first step would be to publicly approach City Council as a group of neighbors & local businessmen to have the city approach those who own the buildings & those social service agencies who attempt to address the needs of the homeless.

    The Lorain Police need someplace to take these people to.

    Also, Lorain City Officials need to PUBLICLY call out to other cities/townships… “hey, this is a joint project if Westlake Police are taking their problem and bringing it here”

    The Westlake Police did the correct & humane thing to do. If Lorain is best suited to handle this intercommunity problem then it needs intercommunity assistance. Westlake is Cuyahoga County, mind you and yet they decided it was in this woman’s best interest to bring her to Lorain County

  • 13. Peter Potamus  |  June 18, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    The life-skills training & GED Education is also critical so existing funds have to be reconfigured to include these people if no extra money can be found.

    Tennessee once had a “happy pappy” program where welfare fathers would work for the state doing menial jobs (flagman at traffic construction, etc) and were ostensibly happy because they could now work for their welfare check.

    San Francisco and New York had local businesses offer welfare chits to patrons which could be used to pay for lodging at designated shelters/low-rent motels & food at designated dining locales.

    If a homeless individual came up asking for money, the pedestrian could produce one of these chits(in denominations of $0.50 & $1.00) to give to the homeless.

    It took away the problem of them bumming for change and then using it to buy wine, old english 800, or drugs. Not many homeless people were happy, but many were also grateful since it was food & lodging they were looking for.

    The ultimate goal of Ron’s first step has to be a re-introduction into the low-wage work force.

    Harvard did a study that pointed out there was nowhere in the US where a 40-hour minimum wage worker could afford rent & minimum lifestyle expenses SO AGAIN these people must not only be redirected to function within the 40-hour workweek at local businesses BUT ALSO be placed in subsidized rental units.

    A gargantuan task for sober, employed individuals such as yourselves; a near impossible task for the homeless who want to break free of the miserable position they are in… a way up has to be available for the motivated subset of these homeless individuals who want to better themselves.

    Some within this group maintain they are Christian… well, Christ demanded that you aid those who are sick & in prison. If you are to be a follower of Christ then this becomes your duty.

    Funny how much talk we gush admiringly on ourselves about being a Christian nation & needing prayer in the classrooms with the 10 commandments posted over a Nativity scene that the ACLU objects to.

    Perhaps if we found successful ways to deal with our duties towards the sick & the homeless, it would blunt criticism by detractors… if not in the courts, then certainly within the courtroom of public opinion.

    So back to Paula’s question…. who among you community activists and Lorain civil servants banned from reading this weblog while on the job will take the first step.

    The first step is to wrap your heads around Ron’s idea and determine what percentage of it is do-able and how to garner in that percentage… but that means you have to begin discussing it among yourselves… that’s correct, the Lorain Civil Servants need to use the time FORMERLY EXPENSED to reading ThatWoman’s WebLog and REDIRECT that savings in time to discussing Ron’s idea among themselves.

    Anything less would be uncivilized.

  • 14. Peter Potamus  |  June 19, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Ben from the “T Paine in the Open for Discussion Series” mentioned above in Loraine’s post (and linked to also) has as good an idea as I have heard on this topic”… the benefit of his approach is that it provides the prospective minimum-wage employer with the knowledge that this homeless person has functioned successfully in low-wage public works jobs for six months to a year….

    “This blog is very timely for me. I have the solution. I have outlined it before, it needs tweaked but in part is fairly comprehensive.
    40 hours a week. 20 hours to be spent in school, for a GED, vocation, or degree based program. one hour per day learning life skill( anger management, home ec, resume writing, ect) and <i.15 hours a week working for less than min wage., (public works, small business, factory). This will encourage business to hire unqualified workers that would not normally be given a second glance. This will help to build a work ethic and sense of accomplishment. For this you will be provided groceries, housing, medical, and reliable safe child care. As long as you are making progress in your area of study(even if it’s just a GED or apprentice program) you will continue to qualify for these benefits.
    This will require lots of money, but will instantly provide a boost in the economy by hiring qualified day care workers, health care providers, handy men to make housing safe and livable, teachers, instructors, boost grocery sales, provide an influx of quality workers with money to spend in our community.
    This would be a monumental undertaking, but obviously, we cannot continue on the path we are on.”

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