Veterans MEMORIAL Park- thanks for the memories

August 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm 11 comments

Vetname collage
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge

Part One \

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

After a great deal of talking, the Veteran’s organizations under the umbrella of a Lorain Veterans Council entered into a contract with the City of Lorain for a further $346,500.00 to renovate Washington Ave Park/Lorain Memorial Park.

Interestingly enough even the contract language can’t seem to make up its mind as to the “name” of the park – front page of the contract-
Washington Park– Under the “money agreement” it is –Lorain Memorial Park– and farther down in the language- Veterans Memorial Park.
Maybe the funding was for three different parks ( sarcasm abounds)
The PDF file of the 1983 contract is to be found here :

It also seems questions were once again being asked at city council meetings on May 21st- 1984

May 21 1984 min

(PDF File Here)

Now we jump forward back in time to the Plain Dealer article of 1990 ( full article found here )Veterans park

PD opening

Apparently the Park ( whatever its name)
was “finished” in 1987 and then “died by 1990” according to Jack LaVirha.

We were also dealing with the “skateboarders” back 23 years ago vandalizing the park not much has changed apparently. . The newly installed benches found Jack complaining as to their condition just THREE YEARS after the “finish”.

“Veterans raised money to install benches and dedicated to the memory of a deceased person

bench collage

Those benches are still there today .

Could it be after spending a total of $463,526.00 from 1983 through 1987, changing the whole look and feel of the little public square,


the organizations, under the umbrella of the Lorain Veterans Council , threw up their hands and walked away after they declared it dead!

Did the Veterans Council of the day( and also of today ) relieve themselves of all responsibility to that little historic park after they “renovated it? ? Was it and is back to the tax payers to revive her once again?

Apparently, according to then Parks Director Steven Bailey the Parks Dept were never consulted in the design etc

:”LaVirha complains about the park, but Bailey said it was the veterans who hired and worked with the architects [ Ron Cocco of Clark and Post]to “design the park and settled on the concrete foundation and amphitheater.

ED NOTE: It is apparent to me that number 7 in the contractual requirements

No 7: Establish a design that can be easily and economically maintained by the City of Lorain

and number 8

No 8 Utilize products and materials that are durable , easily maintained and resistant to vandalism

weren’t strictly adhered to-


The question begs to be asked, of the powers that be back in the 80’s- why did we lose the integrity and ambiance of ‘public square- into what it has become today?

Was it lack of oversight by administrations – councils- giving an organization free reign without follow through accountability- poor architectural design, which in the opinion of many changed the this little park into a concrete clump! We are seemingly stuck with the decisions of those involved back in the 1980’s- the 1980’s known as the “Decade that Made Us “ certainly left its mark on us!

This little park who is now supposedly born out of the “Sufferers” need for settlement after the War of Independence – See Part Two:

The western end of the reserve included the 500,000 acres (2,000 km2) Firelands or “Sufferers Lands,” reserved for residents of several New England towns destroyed by British-set fires during the Revolutionary War

vets sign

and whose signage states “for those that have served our nation” and whose monument also states

” In grateful tribute to the Lorain men and women who served their county in ALL WARS”

has been a silent witness to the wars of this nation:

War of Independence 1775-1783 25,000
Northwest Indian War 1785-1795 1,221
Quasi-War 1798-1800 20

1812 Public Square became a “deeded park”

Barbary Wars 1801-1815 35
War of 1812 1812-1815 20,000
1st Seminole War 1817-1818 30
2nd Seminole War 1835-1842 1,500
Mexican-American War 1846-1848 13,283
3rd Seminole War 1855-1858 26
Civil War 1861-1865 623,026
Indian Wars 1865-1898 919
Spanish-American War 1898 2,446
Philippine War 1898-1902 4,196
Boxer Rebellion 1900-1901 37
Mexican Revolution 1914-1919 35
Haiti Occupation 1915-1934 146
World War 1 1917-1918 116,708
World War 2 1941-1945 407,316
Korean War 1950-1953 36,914
Vietnam War 1964-1973 58,169
El Salvador 1980-1992 20
Beirut 1982-1984 266
Persian Gulf (Support) 1987-1988 39
Invasion of Grenada 1983 19
Invasion of Panama 1989 40
Persian Gulf War 1991 269
Somalia 1992-1993 43
Bosnia 1995 12
Afghanistan 2002-2011 2,229
Iraq 2003- 4,488

Oh what IF forethought had been utilized in 1983 and the trouble saved in hindsight. vandilsmt

The little park limped along until another Mayor- Craig Foltin , Jack LaVirha ( who was still in favour of spending yet more money and walking away) , The Lorain Veterans Council, another architect Warren Finkel ( designer of Lorain City Hall ), Jon Veard, and Morning Journal editor John Cole rallied round and decided in 2006 to “bury” this little park once and for all- that is until “an Englishwoman cometh” 😉

Thank you once again to Nancy Greer and the City of Lorain Mayors office for the documentation and of course to Dan Brady for the newspaper archives

To be continued……………..

Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, blogs, Charleston Village, city of lorain, history, Lest we forget, Ripped Off?. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Veterans MEMORIAL Park- “Faulty Memory” Veterans MEMORIAL Park- Fini?

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dr Tammy  |  August 1, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    and so it goes….Loraine, I think in this case, the best thing that could happen to this little piece of history is to let it die a proud (?) death. If every year is just another set of problems, lets move the veterans sign down to victory park, next door to the disabled vets. With no seating (sleeping benches) and at least next door to those who might actually care about a park. Sell the land and let the city and the veterans fight over the income (lol). At least we will receive SOME income for the incredible amount of money that was dumped into it!!!! And the funds can be used for those parks worth saving, maybe even help with a skate park for our young people to enjoy.

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  August 1, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    I absolutely disagree with you on this one. why should Lorain continue to discard any more her history because of the mistakes of the people who ” have ownership” in the last few decades can’t be bothered.

    This park is the oldest green space in the county and has been such for over 200 years. other communities embrace their history….. treasure it THIS IS NOT JUST VETERAN’S PARK and in fact I can’t find any documentation that states it has been officially given that name.…..

    this park belongs to Lorain and her founding fathers and the community of today , but the thinking of lets just toss it to the side because we find it inconvenient has to stop. Lorain is nearly historically bankrupt- you want tourism to come to the bars and restaurants when you are literally throwing away and discarding one of her prime assets.

    The problems encountered through the years with this park are directly attributable to the dump it , throw away society Lorain and the United States has become .

    NO I did not fight tooth and nail for that park in 2006 ( part 8 tomorrow) and her credibility to “dump it” …. if I have to take a hammer and some paint and do it myself I will – I will not perpetuate the discard thinking and the shame that goes with that –

    If the veterans and civic organizations who were the groups that made the decisions and got the money in the 80’s don’t take ownership of that piece of history from whence Lorain was literally born….. then even though it isn’t my history I will try and preserve it and dignify her standing.

    As Americans all who live here and have businesses here and work here should be ashamed about their “throw away thinking”- this is not my history and what happens to heritage in this community is disgraceful… if that type of thinking existed in my hometown the Tower of London would be riverside condos !

  • 3. Carolyn Sipkovsky  |  August 2, 2013 at 3:22 am

    Oh no, are we going thru this again-just get rid of the park or another historical building. Thanks goodness Lorain has Loraine.

  • 4. Dr Tammy  |  August 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Throw away thinking….now, now. We have a new park, Mariners; we have reclaimed parks, Lake View park (Rose Garden) and those parks on the east and south sides. Lets look at this piece of property for what it is and will continue to be! If I recall an early post about Charleston Village, it was essentially bankrupt when it was renamed and it changed the direction of the city. As I said, sometimes it is just better to let something that isn’t working go. And I really wouldn’t compare the history of this park to the Tower of London (a few of my distant relatives spent some time there–I’m a Howard on my mothers side). I applaud your caring for this city, but occasionally we need to look at something for what it could be, not what it was.

  • 6. Loraine Ritchey  |  August 2, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    it is not working precisely due to that kind of thinking sorry as I said I disagree, look at the last in the series and I think probably some of my ancestors would have put them in the Tower 🙂 and we looked at that “what it could be fiasco in 2006 ……… you have a whole lakefront to develop – also glad to see the curtains open at Copa 🙂

  • […] The park has been left in shambles and decay- far from the beauty and ambiance envisioned by Lorain’s founding fathers as they platted this town from its corner . […]

  • […] and barely missed the “wrecking ball” back in 2005 due to “politics” has now been designated a Lorain County Historical Landmark Site . That little park from whence this city was platted finally has its due! The respect for this little green space wasn’t always the case – her story can be found here […]

  • […] Veterans Park ..AND THEN  at the other end of the neighborhood  “planned  Blight of a historic little park .. Oh the wheeling and dealing pitting “history  boneheads ” ( Coles words not mine ) agains  developers, and the administration – Foltin , Cole and Prudoff .. The proposed senior citizens condos in the Park.. we had to  take on the Veterans who  at one point had received hundreds of thousand for improvement for that park..”WHO TURNED NEARLY $500,000 DOLLARS INTO A BOONDOGGLE, BAD NEWS AND DEAD PARK?” […]

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August 2013

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