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Lorain Parks Need More Money To Grow

Sai Karnat

In the city of Lorain, the parks truly show that money does not grow on trees.

On July 1, the Lorain City Council proposed a levy to fund capital improvements and maintain city parks.

The city is currently asking the Lorain County Auditor to estimate the potential tax revenue for both a 1 mil and a ½ mil levy. The city council will use those projections to decide which levy to put on the November ballot.

“We are woefully below what a typical Northeastern Ohio municipality would have appropriated for general funds for a Parks and Recreation department,” said Mitchell Fallis, chairman of Lorain’s Park and Recreation Committee. “Therefore, we are considering putting on a levy in November to generate some additional funds to be earmarked specifically for capital improvements and maintaining our parks.”

The levy would not be the only source of new revenue for parks and recreation in Lorain. The city also hopes to gather more grant money, which can only be acquired if the city already has matching funds.

“For example, if we wanted to do a half-million-dollar project, the grant might require us to put in half of the money, which is $250,000, then the grant would provide the remaining $250,000,” Fallis said. “Well if we don’t have that $250,000 upfront, right now, because our budget is so low, we can’t even apply for that grant.”

Fallis believes the public will support the levy.

“There are many people in Lorain who have volunteered their time, effort, and money to go into parks and make improvements by painting, by weed whacking, and by just cleaning up parks,” Fallis said. “So I think the city sees that the need is there.”

Fallis also points to the cities of Vermillion and Elyria, where citizens supported levies dedicated to their Parks and Recreation Departments.

According to the city itself, Lorain has 56 parks covering more than 800 acres of land. Of these parks, Fallis says four or five major parks need improvement.

Discussions of a levy started almost a year ago. Interim Lorain Mayor Joseph Koziura made the effort “the top of his list to accomplish,” according to Fallis.

Green spaces can be an “economic development driver” that would make Lorain more enticing for prospective businesses and residents, Fallis says.

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