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Envision

Lorain

COMMUNITY CONVERSATION GUIDE

ABOUT THIS INITIATIVE

Lorain City administrators together with Lorain City Council want to create a plan to ensure the city, its residents, and its workers grow and prosper into the future. Your city government wants future priorities for the City of Lorain to be shaped by the people who live and work here. Both City administrators and City Council would like for you to have a say in the future direction of your community!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why is a strategic plan important?

• There is much for city governments to do these days but without a plan it is difficult to set priorities and maintain focus.

• Planning experts agree, a community that doesn’t plan for its future cannot adapt to change.

Where did the money come from to support this planning effort?

• 60% of the funds to support this planning process were provided by a grant from the Stocker Foundation to the City of Lorain

($15,000).

• The City of Lorain is using other external federal grant money to finance the remaining 40% of the project ($10,000). This means no local tax dollars are being spent on the planning project and are still directed toward police, fire, streets, and other city services.

Why does the City of Lorain need a consultant to help with this work?

• The Public Services Institute (PSI) of Lorain County Community College is providing consultation to the City of Lorain. PSI has expertise in these kinds of planning processes. • City residents can feel comfortable voicing their opinions and viewpoints to an unbiased entity like PSI.

• Given the diversity of our community, many ideas are likely to be expressed throughout the planning process. PSI will help us all build some consensus around strategic priorities for our City.

How can I be assured my opinions will matter?

• Your ideas and suggestions will be carefully documented throughout the planning process.

• Careful attempts will be made to share what we heard from our community back to residents.

• Not only will we create a plan, we will organize our efforts around the plan and monitor our progress over the next 10 years.

only will we create a plan, we will organize our efforts around the plan and monitor
only will we create a plan, we will organize our efforts around the plan and monitor
only will we create a plan, we will organize our efforts around the plan and monitor
only will we create a plan, we will organize our efforts around the plan and monitor

I

GETTING

STARTED

THIS WORKBOOK WILL:

• Encourage you to think about where our City stands today and what our priorities should be for the future.

• Focus on some of our City’s greatest assets.

• Highlight some priorities for Ohio and the northeast Ohio region to stimulate your thinking about what might be done in Lorain going forward.

• Help you consider some of our greatest challenges.

• Provide an opportunity for you to help shape the future direction of your city government.

• Ensure the final plan is tailored to the needs and desires of its citizens and leaders.

HOW TO USE THIS WORKBOOK:

• This workbook is not meant to be something that you complete on your own like you would a survey.

• It is intended to be a guide for conversations with your family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

• The Public Services Institute will be happy to facilitate a conversation for you. Just give us a call at the number listed below. If you would like to host and facilitate the conversation yourself, make sure you choose a recorder who can write very clearly so all ideas shared by the group are captured. Send the material to PSI or we will pick up the material from you.

SOME IDEAS:

• Share this workbook with your closest friends and ask them to join you in discussing the ideal future for your community.

• Share this workbook during a staff meeting or in the lunch room at your place of work.

• Think about all the organizations you are associated with like church groups, membership clubs, or neighbor- hood groups and ask your acquaintances to provide their ideas.

We want to hear from as many people as possible!

ideas. We want to hear from as many people as possible! Give Us A Call at
ideas. We want to hear from as many people as possible! Give Us A Call at

Give Us A Call at 800-995-5222

extension 7928

Or Visit The City Website at

www.cityoflorain.org

II

OUR HISTORICAL ASSETS &

RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS

What strengths can we build upon for tomorrow?

1 OUR PEOPLE

Known as the “International” community, Lorain is home to a wide array of people from many different cultures and backgrounds. Our young people and others who live in the City of Lorain learn to respect different cultures and people.

2 OUR NATURAL RESOURCES

Lake Erie

Black River

3 OUR INDUSTRIAL AND INNOVATIVE HERITAGE

Manufacturing: Like Ohio, Lorain has a rich history in manufacturing. Our manufacturing heritage has instilled a strong work ethic in our people and manufacturing continues to be the number one export industry – meaning it brings new money into our community rather than circulating existing money like is often the case with other industry sectors like retail.

Entrepreneurship: It’s happened before for our region! Imagine if the Akron area would have been dubbed the rubber capital of the world without Dr. Benjamin Franklin Goodrich, an entrepreneur who had an innovative idea that grew a company to be one of our region’s and nation’s largest employer.

Think about the Spitzer, Campana, Stocker, Nord families and others who started successful businesses in the Lorain area contributing to its vitality and stability for many years.

4 OUR GEOGRAPHIC POSITION

• Lorain is uniquely situated between major tourist destinations and entertainment hubs in Ohio with Cedar Point and in-door water parks to the west and Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science Museum, and many other arts/cultural amenities to the east. • Lorain is also located within 500 miles of 42% of the entire U.S. population and major markets like St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and New York.

5 OUR TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE

With its water, rail road, and highway access, Lorain is strategically positioned to be a transportation hub which is important to businesses needing to move goods and services efficiently.

positioned to be a transportation hub which is important to businesses needing to move goods and
Recent Accomplishments by the City of Lorain
Recent
Accomplishments
by the
City of
Lorain

Waterfront Access & Development

• Partnership with the Lorain Port Authority to establish Black River Landing Park and the newly constructed permanent stage to enhance waterfront access, recreation, and entertainment.

• Jet Express ferry service from Lorain to the Lake Erie Islands.

• Shuttle Boats to the Lorain Lighthouse and upriver for Black River nature tours.

• The 62-acre HarborWalk riverside housing development started in 2000 to stimulate economic growth and development.

• Renovation and restoration of the 40.59 acre Lakeview Park, its historic Rose Garden, and The Rose Café through a lease agreement with the Lorain County Metro Parks saving the City of Lorain hundreds of thousands of dollars.

• Ground work completed to move the sewage treatment plan and free up lakefront property for further recreational and/or business development.

Commercial / Retail Development

• IRG redevelopment of former Ford facility.

• Lighthouse Village retail development anchored by Kohl’s and Home Depot.

• Deerfield Development anchored by Lowes and an adjacent residential development.

• Attraction of millions of dollars in federal funding to establish the River Bend Commerce Park on Colorado Avenue stimulating job growth and development for Lorain.

Technology Enhancements

• Legislation adopted in 2008 to promote city- wide use of advanced energy technology prod- ucts and services in the areas of solar, wind, fuel cells, bio-energy and others to promote a coher- ent economic growth strategy for the city of Lorain (known as the “Green Team Resolution”)

• Lorain’s first wind turbine constructed adjacent to the Turtle Plastics plant to encourage and promote energy efficiencies for new businesses.

• Implementation of new technology within city government for greater access to public records, greater awareness of what is happening in local government, and overall efficiency in communica- tions with the local public.

Government Consolidation

• Consolidation of service garage functions into one location/facility saving tax payer dollars.

• Consolidation of utilities department onto one site also saving tax payer dollars.

III

ALIGNING OUR FUTURE WITH

What are some additional opportunities for our City?

Business Growth Opportunities:

Ohio’s Targeted Industries: The Ohio Department of Development has identified 9 different industry sectors which are important to the future growth of our state.

Northeast Ohio’s Targeted Industries: In 2008 Northeast Ohio witnessed 83 new business oppor- tunities, attracted 10 new companies producing 700 new jobs and adding $30 million in new payroll. Many of these opportunities are found in targeted areas similar to the state of Ohio.

Northeast Ohio Business Targets

• Data & Contract Call Centers

• Advanced Energy

• Biomedical

• Cardiovascular

• Aerospace

• Food Processing & Distribution

• Polymers

• Distribution & Logistics (like transportation and warehousing companies)

Team Northeast Ohio

and warehousing companies) Team Northeast Ohio Ohio Business Targets • Advanced Energy &

Ohio Business Targets

• Advanced Energy & Environmental Technologies

• Aerospace & Aviation

• Agriculture & Food Processing

• Bioscience & Bioproducts

• Corporate & Professional Services

• Distribution & Logistics

• Instruments, Controls, & Electronics

• Motor Vehicle & Parts Manufacturing

• Polymers & Advanced Materials

According to the Ohio Department of Development, research & development, advanced manufacturing, and information technology are considered to cut across all the above industries and

necessary functions for success in the new economy.

WHAT SHOULD BE THE BUSINESS TARGETS FOR THE CITY OF LORAIN?
WHAT
SHOULD
BE THE
BUSINESS
TARGETS FOR
THE CITY OF
LORAIN?

STATE & REGIONAL PRIORITIES

Additional Opportunities for Northeast Ohio (Advance NEO):

Government Collaboration & Efficiency

Challenge:

Northeast Ohio has too many local governments which leads to duplicated public services and higher taxes

Priority:

Reduce government costs through:

Joint purchasing among 2 or more local governments (like road salt, parts for government vehicles, paper products,etc.)

Resource sharing among local governments (like sharing of fire trucks between

2 or more cities, sharing of personnel, etc.)

Consolidation of government offices (like consolidation of departments across

2 or more governments)

Education & Workforce Development

Challenge:

People of northeast Ohio don’t place enough value on education and the region lags the nation significantly in the percentage of adults with a college education.

Priority:

Ensure education and workforce development programs for high-growth, high-wage industries.

Growth Through Racial & Economic Inclusion

Challenge:

Northeast Ohio has growing income inequalities resulting in an increasing gap between the rich and the poor and greater concentration of poverty in core cities.

Priority:

Increase educational attainment in high-poverty communities and provide support to minority-owned businesses.

The Fund for Our Economic Future

Partnership Opportunities:

How might the City of Lorain partner with economic development organizations to retain existing jobs, attract, and grow new jobs? How might the City of Lorain benefit from partnerships with other local governments? What other types of organizations might the City of Lorain work with to maximize efficiencies and effectiveness?

IV

GROWTH CHALLENGES

REAL CHALLENGES

What do we need to overcome?

• In 2000, Lorain City residents made an average $4,714 less per person than county residents overall.

• At the same time, 34% of all Hispanic adults and 39% of all African American adults had at least some college experience compared to 47% of White adults. Additionally, only 6% of Hispanic adults and 8% of African American adults had a bachelor or graduate degree compared with 17.5% of White adults (county-wide).

These factors produce inequalities and tend to contribute to divisions between our people and our neighborhoods.

HOUSING CHALLENGES

Spikes in Housing Vacancy: The vacancy rate

in Lorain has increased drastically since 2000, from 6.4% to 16.2% in 2007. Housing vacancy contributes to lower property values, to overall crime, and tends to negatively impact the physical appeal of a neigh- borhood.

Fewer People: Like many core cities in Ohio, the City of Lorain continues to decline in population

(a net loss of approximately - 10,000 people in 27 years). Fewer people causes a shrinking tax base to help pay for

Fewer people causes a shrinking tax base to help pay for city services. Changing Economy: Like

city services.

Changing

Economy:

Like all of the industrial mid- west, the City of Lorain has been based on heavy industrial manufacturing. While still important to our area, manufacturing is giving way to new industry sectors in an informa- tion, knowledge based economy. Without new business targets traditional industries will continue to slip away and fewer people will be able to find jobs with livable wages within the City of Lorain.

DISPARITIES BETWEEN OUR PEOPLE & OUR NEIGHBORHOODS

High Rates of Poverty: In 2007, 1 in every

5 people and 18% of all families in the City of Lorain lived in

poverty which was higher than Elyria City, the county, and the state overall.

higher than Elyria City, the county, and the state overall. Gaps in Education & Income Levels:

Gaps in Education & Income Levels:

Income levels for City residents are below county, state, and national averages as is educational attainment.

Lower Housing Values: In 2007, median

housing value for the City of Lorain was consider- ably lower than Elyria City, the county, and the state overall. Communities with lower housing values usu- ally lack the mix of housing to support people of all types and income

ranges. (including families with chil- dren, single people, seniors, etc.). This in turn makes it difficult to attract more people to the city.

with chil- dren, single people, seniors, etc.). This in turn makes it difficult to attract more
INFRASTRUCTURE CHALLENGES Aging Infrastructure: Many of our nation’s core cities are plagued with aging infrastructure
INFRASTRUCTURE CHALLENGES Aging Infrastructure: Many of our nation’s core cities are plagued with aging infrastructure

INFRASTRUCTURE

CHALLENGES

Aging Infrastructure: Many of our nation’s

core cities are plagued with aging infrastructure like roads, sewers, bridges, and buildings.

• Fire Station 4 on Lorain’s east side is a good example. It was built in 1919 and two studies over the past two decades determined that the station should be replaced due to deteriorated conditions. To date, the replacement has not occurred.

• The City of Lorain estimates 180 miles of roadways in need of rehabilitation, reconstruction, or extension through 2013 at a total approximate cost of $44.5 million.

• Like housing stock, inadequate infrastructure makes it difficult to attract people and businesses to a community.

New Technology Infrastructure Needs:

Equally important in today’s world are telecommuni- cation and energy infrastructure.

• Adequate telecommunication infrastructure enables local governments to communicate more effectively and efficiently with its citizens.

• Energy infrastructure is needed to attract businesses and people who expect high-speed Internet access and other telecommunication support.

Energy infrastructure is needed to keep operating costs of government owned buildings down and are attractive to businesses looking to relocate.

down and are attractive to businesses looking to relocate. BUDGET CHALLENGES Almost every city, every county,

BUDGET CHALLENGES

Almost every city, every county, and every state in America is facing a budget deficit due to the nation’s economic downturn. Fewer people and fewer businesses means a shrinking tax base from which to support the city services that people depend upon.

• The City of Lorain faced a half million dollar shortfall on top of a 1.3 million dollar deficit that existed from 2008 resulting in cuts to the recreation department, fire stations, and other city services.

• When combined, only about 8% of all property tax support goes to the City of Lorain while about 75% goes to the local school district, approximately 12% goes to County government, and about 5% is spent on other purposes county-wide. This makes it difficult for the City of Lorain to finance all city services in an effective manner.

ATTITUDINAL

CHALLENGES

Attitudes That Hurt Us:

• Holding onto the past • Closed minded

• Resistant to change • Not open to new ideas

• Down on ourselves • Unwilling to adapt Voices & Choices, January 2006

“Probably the greatest impediment to the progress of Lorain County is not the loss of talent, nor a lack of leadership, but something even more fundamental: a sense that nothing much better is achievable, and that nothing any different is necessary…the deepest problem is simply the spirit of the place. It expects so little… [Needed most are] changes that will both symbolize a change of attitude and help produce that change.

Peter Szanton

V YOUR THOUGHTS

1. What is going well in the City of Lorain that we should build upon?

a. Why are these things important?

Talked about most by your group:

are these things important? Talked about most by your group: 2. Think about how you’d like

2.

Think about how you’d like our City to be – what kind of City is that?

a. Why are these things important?

b. What would these things look like?

c. What difference would these things make?

Talked about most by your group:

3. Given the kind of community we want, what do we want our local government to do?

a. Why these things?

Talked about most by your group:

4. Of all of these things we have talked about, which are the most important

4. Of all of these things we have talked about, which are the most important to have for our City?

Talked about most by your group:

5. To what extent are all of the things we want for our City possible?

Talked about most by your group:

6.
6.

What challenges do we face in getting the kind of City we want? a. Why is that a challenge? b. How does it affect our community?

Talked about most by your group:

Public Services Institiute Lorain County Community College 1005 North Abbe Road, Elyria, OH 44035 •

Public Services Institiute

Lorain County Community College 1005 North Abbe Road, Elyria, OH 44035 • 440.366.7928