The Family Dollar- Design by Design – not Desperation -Lorain

September 26, 2012 at 3:17 pm 10 comments

In 1985 (revised in 1989) Preservation in Lorain Design Guidelines were introduced and amended in 2012 See PDF file here
Preservation in Lorain (Guidelines)

In 1987 the codefied ordinance see PDF file here
Chapter 1185 Codified was established the Design review Board> its purpose:

1185.02 PURPOSE.
Council, being mindful of the proud history of this community, the importance of beauty in the everyday lives of our citizens and the need to further efforts to provide for sound community and economic development, hereby declare as a matter of public policy that the preservation, restoration, rehabilitation and overall aesthetic improvements of our community are matters of public necessity involving the health, safety, prosperity and welfare of the people. The purpose of this chapter is to:
(a) Contribute to the economic, recreational, cultural and educational development of the City by:
(1) Stabilizing and improving property values;
(2) Stimulating business and attracting industry by providing a sound economic climate;
(3) Protecting and enhancing attractions to residents, tourists and visitors;
(4) Improving the quality of life by enhancing the visual and aesthetic character,diversity and interest of the City;

(5) Fostering civic pride in the beauty and notable accomplishments of the past; and
(6) Promoting the use and preservation of prehistoric and historic locations, architecturally significant structures and other notable objects, archaeological and historic sites for the education, enrichment and general welfare of the people of the City of Lorain, County of Lorain, and the State of Ohio.
(b) Provide for the establishment of procedures whereby certain areas, structures, objects and works of art of prehistoric, historic, architectural or cultural importance to the community shall be safeguarded and allowed that measure of protection afforded by a thorough study of alternatives to incompatible alternatives or demolition before such acts
are performed.
(c) Maintain and enhance the distinctive character of preservation districts by safeguarding the architectural integrity of the various period structures within them, and to prevent intrusions and alterations within the districts that would be incompatible with the established character.
(Ord. 34-87. Passed 3-2-87.

Yesterday I was fortunate to see the process in action .
Morning Journal report: Rick Payerchin

Family dollar had come before the Design Review Board with a building design, which in and of itself had it “stood alone” was a very nice rectangular block structure as rectangular flat-roofed block structures go.

Note: this was the previous design , it had been “tweaked with some false windows etc. for yesterday’s meeting

However we, in Lorain, need to stop piece mealing our construction and rehabilitation. In my opinion, we need to adhere to the purpose set out a quarter of a century ago by the city and personally, I believe, the need of comprehensive design needs to be city-wide. .

Charleston Village Society ( of which I am co -chair) Black River Historical Society, Lorain Growth Corporation , the City, the Downtown Consortium – the Port Authority, The Palace, merchants and residents in and around this Lorain’s oldest and historic neighborhood are trying and have been trying to “have an identity” -a place of destination where the ambiance is other than rectangular brick blocks; whose designs are designated by “business structural plans and needs” first and foremost and dressing up the outside to fit the inside .

As I stood before the microphone yesterday, as I have many times over the years, trying to impart the history of Lorain, her founders and how significant it is to this area and could be with the right marketing – I hoped they could see what I see beneath the years of neglect.

Lorain’s oldest continuous green space , deeded to the city in 1812 as a park has on all sides bar one – (the one area the Family Dollar Company wished to build )- buildings of national, state and county historical importance .

Lorain’s now named Veterans Park has to the south a building on the National Historic Register Lorain No 1 Fire Station

an absolutely beautiful church that any founding father would point to with pride ,

Photo source Renee Dore

to the west, also a National Historic Register property The Antlers ,

Photo source Dan Brady

and the Masonic Temple .

to the North , what is now the Frey Funeral Home- the home of George Wickens – whose historical worthiness is well-known to Lorain and Lorain County.

And whose name is in tribute to the street Wickens Place along whose curb side Family Dollar wishes to build.

These properties have over the years been the subject of art classes ( as evidenced here,

subjects of pride, photos and post cards. Alongside of these buildings as they look onto what is probably the oldest continuous green space in the county are other landmark status homes and buildings.

After the meeting I corralled ( no other word for it) one of the gentleman from the Family Dollar group attending the meeting. We walked across the road into Veterans Park . The gentleman had asked me

“well what kind of a building do you want”

– I stated

one that in 50 years time could also be a candidate for the National Historical Register.

As I walked through the park ( a note to city and to self we need to do some maintenance once again) and the gentleman video taped the south view, the north, and the west – I saw some respect for those views and I got the impression no one had really “walked the area” to SEE . Yes, Famly Dollar folks had tried to fit into a footprint and a business design plan, to make their building acceptable but they really didn’t, I believe, look across the space to SEE how they would impact the rest of the square just how could they fit in on that particular piece of property. And that is the problem “tunnel vision” – and that problem with vision has plagued Lorain over the last few decades.

Too many times in the past, desperate as we are for employment ( note the gentleman mentioned the design for the building is to accommodate 2.8 employees ) desperate for taxes and people- desperation should not be part of design. I am glad , in this instance, and I hope in future instances , especially in the oldest and historic part of Lorain a comprehensive “design plan’ based upon

“Improving the quality of life by enhancing the visual and aesthetic character,diversity and interest of the City”

and not desperation! as THE deciding factor.

Entry filed under: Brit take, Charleston Village, city of lorain, history, opinion. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rich Robbin  |  September 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Wonderful article! They want to get downtown moving…have them
    buy a couple buildings, open the walls and keep the storefronts as they are. Can always have front and rear entrances. That might mean a couple more employees to mann both front and back registers. Just a thought.

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  September 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    well Rich as you know you and I and some others “the village idiots” and history blockheads as we have been called having been trying for decades now to show the worthiness of this neighborhood….. hopefully as the towers of powers (lines) are removed others will see what we see 🙂

  • 3. Brian  |  September 26, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I saw a Family Dollar store a couple of weeks ago. I think it was in the Lakewood area that what I think you are looking for. Nested in an older area with the exact look I think you are looking for.

    Anyone seen it because I can’r recall exactly where I saw it.

  • 4. Dennis Lamont  |  September 26, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    YES, YES and YES. If everyone will please remember the last great study says the City Hall is sitting on Prime Property ….by extension across the street is also Prime Property and deserves something that befits prime property. The items that the study called for are moving along and include the removal of the power plant and moving the power lines and the sewage plant among other things…it takes time but please lets keep the end goals in mind … of the finest waterfronts along Lake Erie.

  • 5. Renee Dore  |  September 26, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Thanks Loraine for your comments and contribution of your time at this important meeting. I had hoped to attend also but thought the meeting was thurs. The integrity of this downtown area near what used to be called the Loop should be in the forefront of everyone’s minds. The use should be integrated with the area-not just trying to fit a “round peg in a square hole” because a person happens to own a piece of business property and wantes to have another business there. It has to fit with what is already there and compliment the area. If it take time then take the time and be careful of what goes there.

  • 6. aka/mozart  |  September 27, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Loraine Ohio..(.has a hice ring)…good job with all your info and time..but mostly heart!

  • 7. Lisa  |  September 27, 2012 at 1:31 am

    I’m just curious as to how all of this began. Did Family Dollar find this location on their own and approach the city?

  • 8. Loraine Ritchey  |  September 27, 2012 at 11:42 am

    well Family Dollar certainly aproached the city –

  • 9. Loraine Ritchey  |  September 27, 2012 at 11:44 am

    well Denise- the park – a “womb with a view” 🙄

  • 10. aka/mozart  |  September 27, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    a “womb with a view..(oor maybe not)….lol…good one..

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September 2012

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