An Open Letter – WARD 2 -NEEDS YOU

May 28, 2013 at 11:26 am 10 comments

decline lorain

This past week, in this oldest neighborhood of Lorain, Charleston Village has seen the arrest of an alleged arsonist, who twice returned in the same amount of days to a brand new elementary school’s playground to destroy.

The video in the article shows the aggression of such an act and the aftermath

destruction collage
Photos LORAIN 365

Yes, this “alleged arsonist” is just the latest escalation of anti social behavior in Ward Two, Lorain Ohio.

We hear the cries of citizens take back your neighborhoods. Oh! and some of us we have tried to do so in many ways in the past two decades, but we who are still left in these older neighborhoods are as burned out as our playground .

open-letterAN OPEN LETTER to those who are the deciders!

For two decades a group of volunteers in the Lorain’s oldest neighborhood known as Charleston Village Society have tried to preserve a quality of life in our neighborhood. We have worked to preserve Lorain’s history and heritage, to maintain a neighborhood , started the block watch program 20 years ago. We were and are very involved in community but we are weakening fast.

We watched with sadness as our two large school buildings in this Lorain oldest community- Irving and the “old” Lorain High/ Lorain middle school- sat empty and forlorn. We rejoiced when a new elementary school was built and named after one of Lorain’s national and internationally recognized hero Fleet Admiral Ernest J King and Constellation Charter Schools saw the old Irving as an asset rather than a demolition .

We have also watched the “allowed” deterioration of our housing stock even as the State of Ohio asked of this community we preserve the historic aspects of this neighborhood . We have watched the loss of our merchants in our downtown area, a quality of life deteriorating with each placebo policy that came down to us. Some died , some left and some “exist” afraid in our streets.


However, we also see hope with the new policies being developed by the current Ritenauer Administration and a refocusing of efforts along Broadway , 100 percent trash pick-up and inspections. BUT if we are to stop the rot we will need “MORE”! We need teeth in our ordinances and accountability


We have tried to honor Lorain in all our efforts, with the help of the City of Lorain’s administrations/councils , Lorain City Schools and our sister organizations to feature in a unique way Lorain’s maritime history, honoring the fallen of the Iraq/ Afghanistan War as well as Admiral King’s birthplace.
befo eagle
Over the years we have , pleaded, pointed out the problems hoping we weren’t tilting at windmills, fought ideas we deemed detrimental not only to this neighborhood but to the city herself e.g. Condo”s in Veterans Park

An Eastern Shawnee Casino founded upon the desire of Craig Foltin to get a ” seat at a table” and our tax money spent for his cause – this was the “diversion” , the carrot to dangle in front of a desperate community that was never ever going to go anywhere the “hype of hyperbole” costing thousands and thousands
Casino deal raises doubts; Foltin slammed on cost of tribe negotiations
SOURCE: The Chronicle-Telegram Shawn Foucher September 13 2005

We have partnered with various groups ( 40 individuals in a Community Safety Forum ) to focus on a target area in order to turn the tide such as the Pilot Program for Community Safety, eventually centered in South Lorain under Father Thaden .

However, that particular pilot program failed after an initial success . The approach was one that needed a five pronged approach for success , Lorain Police Dept, Lorain Building Dept ( City of Lorain) Clergy and Social Service Agencies Lorain City Schools , Community ( neighborhood) surrounding the target area at the center of which was Lincoln School.

Sub police station – Lorain City Police
Pre School – Lorain City School
Information and Referral – El Centro
Employment – El Centro
Financial Literacy/ Housing program – El Centro
Senior program – El Centro
Youth Leadership program – El Centro

Once again the effort failed due to the lip service of the then City of Lorain Administration- Mayor Craig Foltin and the withdrawal of the Lorain City Schools bricks and mortar.

Just over a year ago, the Lorain Schools allowed the vacant Lincoln Elementary School to be transformed into a community center set up to honor a teenage girl who was fatally shot by a stray bullet while she was in her living room.
On Monday, the Lorain school board voted to reclaim the building.

Lincoln Community Center Director Leon Mason said he found out about the board’s intentions to terminate the lease on Friday and called the move a shock. Violent crime has drastically decreased since the center opened, and Mason said he’s worried that the board did not give him enough time to find a new location.

The effort died aborning but the talk the talk continued :

Lorain officials look to youth programs to decrease violence

We ,in this oldest neighborhood of Lorain were woken in the early morning after a Day of Pride to the stench of burning once again.

Lorain City Schools has called a “community meeting “ Wednesday May 29th at 6 at the Admiral King Elementary School – apparently to last 1 hour !Here we go again !!!

In response, school administrators have scheduled a one-hour community meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the elementary school as a way to engage the public on how to better the schools’ playgrounds. Morning Journal May 24th.

We have also over the years witnessed the pressure cooker release meetings

Give the outraged whatever the situation a chance to sound off, have their say , limited their time to two or three or five minutes , nod in agreement , smile yes we will work toward an end , all will get on board all smiles and shaking hands at the feel good scenario. And in a few weeks all this will be old news and we can get on with the whatever the particular powers that be were doing before so annoyingly interrupted.

LIP SERVICE has become the reaction. The cynic, I have become, waits to see the latest “talk the talk” outcome.

elephantin the room

Well no matter, this is just an old ward with a plethora of social service agencies , major multi rentals, dilapidated buildings along our main thoroughfare , crime , a dumping ground for the Registered Sex Offenders and those on parole (90 parolees alone in the 44052 zip code and 138 RSO in 115 locations). Smugly referred to by those in better wards better communities as “Low – rain”.
downtoen collage
L-R Veterans Park ( toilet?) Historic Mayor Kings Home Washington Ave ( owner 64 other properties) and Business on Broadway ( owner owns over 200 properties)

To you that have discounted this ward and her ills let me just say this – so goes Ward Two “Low rain” so goes Lorain. The lack of enforcement of building ordinances( such as they are)- the lack of accountability by those that use this ward to line their pockets while prostituting her housing, the lack of “judicial intestinal fortitude”, the “politics that drive decisions, the LIP service has culminated in what you see in this ward today.

HOWEVER Lorain, this ward is also the ward where Lorain can turn into a positive direction

mark collage


We have reached a tipping point – our “alleged” arsonist – a resident within two blocks of the school, lives in a rental whose owner lives in California , they also own another home on the same street- which is another “nuisance” to those that still try live here in this neighborhood. The drug dealer arrested just three months ago

Suspected drug dealer near Admiral King Elementary school arrested
also owned by a multi property owners.

We are the cancerous core of the decline of Lorain, but we are also her HOPE .
Lorain city  council

To you council representatives you need to stop the rot here and now!

We are the only ward where development can take place. Ward two has the lakefront, we have the river front, we have the business/ commercial district, we have the seat of government , the port, we are the on the scenic highway and byways trail, Lake Erie circle tour, theatre and we have Lorain’s history!

There will be no rebirth of a downtown whilst the neighborhoods along the Broadway corridor are decayed and only fit habitation for miscreants , vermin and thugs, where the only profits being made are on the backs of nuisance housing.

The Judicial Branch– we are tired of revolving door sentencing- time to start using the powers you have on your benches !

It is all very well for the churches and social service agencies to have compassion for the indigent in this area

however the compassion has to have accountability to the population who wish to get a book from the public library, attend a church service, to go to the bank, to walk into a jeweler or a print shop. attend a festival on our river front , to be able to sit on a park bench in Lorain oldest park enjoy her fountain without the stench of human feces.

Your compassion has responsibility to those individuals as well.

Our “worth” or lack thereof is spreading to your neighborhoods – homes derelict or selling for less than an automobile – has already caused a significant monetary loss to the “newer homes” in the “good wards”. The neighborhood issues of safety along with a failing grade has already caused Lorain City Schools distress, loss of students and monetary damages you can ill afford. .

Lorain YOU are perceived by those outside this community by what is happening here in Ward Two – we can either make or break you. It is time you ALL pay attention to what is happening here because we are the symptom of a greater terminal disease. !

It is UP to Lorain’s government, Administrative, Legislative, Judicial to focus on this ward. It is up to the Social Service agencies the churches to also take responsibility for their compassion. It behooves the Lorain City Schools to listen and see what is happening in your neighborhoods because like it or not you are part of the system- your decisions affect our community too!

It is up to you to get involved and find the intelligence and guts to sort out the problems because we who still try and “live” here are reliant upon just a “few ”

lorain saefty

as our last line of defense to support us and they too are out numbered as the placebo policies are spreading out from our core! We are literally going down in flames in this “old” ward two
fire flames wallpapers  9

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

Memorial Day- Charleston Village – Heroes Tributes June 3rd- no change but you- Chris Ritchey

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mark  |  May 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    BRAVA!! So very well put! It’s time for the folks in City Hall to care about the area they drive through to get to work, to Council meetings. It’s time for neighbors that give a #hit about their neighborhoods to speak up about the ones that don’t and abuse them. For the first time in my 46 years of living in this city, the words “#$%@ this place.” are beginning to work their way into my vocabulary. I’m tired of the low-lifes that have no concern for anything or anyone. Sick of the “I don’t like it, I’ll torch it.” Disgusted with the “You’ve got something I want, I’m taking it.” The entitlement folks are starting to outnumber those of us that work, and care, and labor and pay.

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 28, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    well the cynic in means thinks it will fall on deaf ears as you are right there are more of them than us left and this cash cow of a neighborhood for the ones who are politically connected who reap benefits from our housing stock have had a lot of pull.. well it was sent to all the branches of government and then some but I have a feeling we are voices in the wilderness and the pressure cooker relief meetings will continue…….but there will at least be a paper trail to show some of us screamed as we died in the wilderness

  • 3. Mark  |  May 28, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    And you know what that paper trail will say to them? “We told you so.” And they’ll crumple it up, toss it over their shrugged shoulders, and think, “Oh well,” and go back to their ivory mansions, and keep looking down on those that are left as they always have. THAT’S what pi$$es me off more than anything. The fact that they don’t believe we know what we’re talking about.

  • 4. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 28, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    well if they believed they would have to act so there we have the conundrum

  • 5. Rich Robbin  |  May 28, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Definitely need more clout from downtown. More interest…what is it that brings people to Lakewood, and other towns like Lorain…keeping the properties and their upkeep valid through regulations, etc. We MUST do what we can…otherwise, they’ll be
    filming another Hollywood movie ….IN THE HOOD.

  • 6. Dennis Lamont  |  May 29, 2013 at 10:54 am

    In my opinion Lorain missed a great opportunity to build an “Academic Center” to accompany the Gelpak and St Joseph’s rehab plan. St Joseph’s is floundering again and the new dental building is a stand alone in a desert of disaster. Piece and Patch just doesn’t cut it, Now where are the seven screamers that in essence shot the project down and what do they have to replace it, instant answer nothing ! Lorain is the place where ideas go to die …”everyone” knows it just can’t be done while all around them “everyone else” is doing it. The natural advantages are all still there and the towers are coming down, whats left of the power plant might be gone and more waterfront property opens up …whatcha gonna do with it ???

  • 8. Who is Who in the 052- New Blog | That Woman's Weblog  |  June 12, 2013 at 1:29 am

    […] On my way to the meeting for the Admiral King Elementary playground destruction and more “poor ” quality of life issues […]

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May 2013