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A conversation between readers and the editor of The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Area too dangerous for school campus


The following comment arrived as a letter to the editor, but I'd like to post it here first because Denise, who cares about the well-being of Lorain, raises an important safety issue for people to talk about. 
-- Tom Skoch

Letter to the editor: 

Listening to the police scanner tonight, it is amazing with all the calls.  Fights,and more fights, 13th Long, 14th Long, 17th Long, 18th Washington...etc...code 1, code 2.
This my friends is "Central Lorain"...and "ward 2". This my friend is where they want to build a learning campus? Site 3. Are they out of your cotton picken minds?

 Wake up folks, if you live outside of this ward, you better start making your voices heard, because it is going to be your kids coming into this ward to go to school if they have their way. It is going to be your kids in the midst of drug dealers and gun toters. If you question the validity  my statements, get yourself a scanner and listen for yourselves.
It was even said last year by an officer heard over the scanner "it was like the wild wild west".

This ward has been neglected and heads turned the other way for years, but now someone benefits with a campus, and the rose colored glasses come on.
NOT FROM WHERE WE STAND!!!!!

denise caruloff
Lorain, Ohio


25 Comments:

Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...

What do the rest of you think? There's no denying the safety problems that exist in the area today. On the other hand, my feeling is that the more "good" you put into an area, the more you drive out the "bad." The school-civic campus would draw thousands of people to that area of Lorain every day. That "people traffic" would help support businesses in the area and would encourage the opening of additional businesses.
A major example of such a transformation took place in the area around the Cleveland Clinic in the University Circle area of Cleveland.
The scale of the project in Lorain in smaller, but the principle remains the same: put improvements in the area, and more improvements will follow. But without the jolt of economic and human energy from the Lorain campus, it is a good bet that this part of Lorain will only continue to deteriorate.

April 3, 2010 at 4:29 PM 
Anonymous Ex-Lorainite said...

It's incredulous that there can be any kind of discussion before cost estimates have been provided, comparing the site selections.

Why isn't the Morning Journal pushing for that kind of detail?

You want to know what you can do to help? Become a fact finder!

April 5, 2010 at 12:35 AM 
Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...

You might have missed this story about costs, among others that have dealt with the cost issue. http://tinyurl.com/yh9mrwv

The particular column you commented on was only intended to focus on the safety question raised by the letter-writer.

Copy and paste this term in the Search box at www.MorningJournal.com and it will bring up the stories on the high school campus plans:

"Lorain High School" campus

April 5, 2010 at 10:36 AM 
Anonymous Corey Clay said...

A major step in turning central Lorain around is the construction of this high school campus at Site 3. This is a chance to build something that the entire community can be proud of right in the heart of Lorain. This does not mean that the construction of a high school at Site 3 will do away with all crime in central Lorain, but I think it is clear from other examples that these kind of projects can help turn around neighborhoods. Tom, you raised a nice example in the way the neighborhood around the Clinic changed on the east side of Cleveland.

As an Admiral King graduate, I will be sad to no longer have an alma mater to visit. I have many great memories at the current site of Admiral King. However, site 3 provides a real opportunity for a great community center that we know we have the funding for right now. I am hopeful that this project succeeds. I appreciate Denise's concern, but I think Lorainites need to think beyond the problems of today to the real prospect of greater opportunities tomorrow.

April 5, 2010 at 10:39 AM 
Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...

Corey Clay has left a new comment on your post "Area too dangerous for school campus":

A major step in turning central Lorain around is the construction of this high school campus at Site 3. This is a chance to build something that the entire community can be proud of right in the heart of Lorain. This does not mean that the construction of a high school at Site 3 will do away with all crime in central Lorain, but I think it is clear from other examples that these kind of projects can help turn around neighborhoods. Tom, you raised a nice example in the way the neighborhood around the Clinic changed on the east side of Cleveland.

As an Admiral King graduate, I will be sad to no longer have an alma mater to visit. I have many great memories at the current site of Admiral King. However, site 3 provides a real opportunity for a great community center that we know we have the funding for right now. I am hopeful that this project succeeds. I appreciate Denise's concern, but I think Lorainites need to think beyond the problems of today to the real prospect of greater opportunities tomorrow.

April 5, 2010 at 11:00 AM 
Anonymous Ex-Lorainite said...

No Tom, I read that article but feel there needs to be some serious fact checking regarding those estimates.

First, $150k per home to purchase, relocate tenants and demolish? Seriously? We're talking about a blighted area.

Second, only up to $250k to demolish all the required buildings on Site 3?

Lastly, no estimate included for the acquisition of the private properties on Site 3?

If the MJ is serious about being a community paper you should be digging into those "facts".

April 5, 2010 at 11:05 AM 
Anonymous Ex-Lorainite said...

Corey, you can't just WISH the crime away. What's the plan to make ingress/egress to and from the site safe for young adults?

How would you feel walking home alone through those neighborhoods after practicing tennis late in the evening?

April 5, 2010 at 11:18 AM 
Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...

Believe me, we're far from finished writing stories and looking at the details of the campus proposal.

April 5, 2010 at 12:04 PM 
Anonymous Corey Clay said...

Ex-Lorainite,

Of course you can't just wish crime away. For one, it would be foolish to claim that a high school on site 3 means that the streets of central Lorain will be as safe as Mayberry. Second, I am not saying that the primary purpose of building a high school at site 3 should be the reduction of crime in central Lorain.

What I am saying is that the site 3 plan seems to have by far the most positive upside for Lorain, and that these kinds of major community projects empirically do tend to have a positive impact on crime in surrounding neighborhoods based on examples seen in other cities.

Finally, no I would not feel particularly safe walking home at night from site 3 after playing tennis late in the evening. Nor would I have felt safe walking home at night from Admiral King when I did play tennis there and because of that I avoided doing so. I would not feel very safe walking home in most parts of Lorain after dark.

The safety of students of course would have to be considered at any location for the new high school, and I think your questions regarding ingress/egress are legitimate. I just don't see those safety concerns changing dramatically from one potential location to another. If there is a considerably safer alternative that has the potential to have the same impact on Lorain as site 3, I am all ears.

April 5, 2010 at 1:03 PM 
Anonymous Loraine Ritchey said...

Ex Lorainite said:

First, $150k per home to purchase, relocate tenants and demolish? Seriously? We're talking about a blighted area.

The City etc are probably using the ball park cost of 150,000 from figures across the country when eminent domain etc comes into play....you have to have an area declared blighted URDA to use eminent domain or for the greater good ( such as schools, libraries etc) . However, there are still costs involved, fair market value , the cost of relocating families, real estate locators etc. and the average costs the cost of relocations in any area the cost of the property not with standing whether the fair market value is 10 thousand or 60 thousand the average cost to buy and relocate or compensate owners .... which probably includes legal fees too :( ... is approximately $150 thousand......that is more than likely where they are getting those numbers from Loraine

April 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM 
Anonymous Ex-Lorainite said...

With all due respect Loraine, you're guessing and I don't think the city of Lorain, nor the citizens of Lorain, can take the chance at guessing in this situation.

If a decision is going to be made on a site, the community needs to have the entire study.

Unless of course the decision has already been made.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck...

April 5, 2010 at 5:29 PM 
Anonymous Ex-Lorainite said...

C'mon Corey, you're trying to say there aren't significant safety differences between the proposed sites and the location of Admiral King?

There needs to be a comprehensive plan presented to ensure the safety of the students before anyone can consider placing a high school in that area. That and an honest financial analysis.

I fear the school system has their eyes glued to the "free" money dangling before them.

April 5, 2010 at 5:41 PM 
Anonymous Loraine Ritchey said...

Actually I am not exactly "guessing" it is part of the formula used all across the country by municipalities . I have written many many words ( in fact series of articles) on Eminent Domain and was part of the Amicus Brief for the Norwood Supreme Court case as well as testifying before the state on Blight and Eminent Domain . So an educated guess :) Loraine

April 6, 2010 at 7:12 AM 
Anonymous Ex-Lorainite said...

Loraine,

Your argumentum ad verecundiam notwithstanding, that "educated guess" doesn't pass the reasonableness test.

In the city of Lorain, where there are more houses for sale than pot holes (hard to believe), those home values are minimal.

Just my humble opinion.

April 6, 2010 at 1:39 PM 
Anonymous Loraine Ritchey said...

Well let us put it this way I probably know more about Eminent Domain etc and the formulae than most around here :) but you can check out these websites , should help you see how things work.

http://www.castlecoalition.org/
http://www.ij.org/

April 6, 2010 at 2:56 PM 
Anonymous Ex-Lorainite said...

Sorry Loraine, this isn't about YOU or HOW IT WORKS; this is about the citizens of Lorain and the load of junk they're being fed.

Building a high school campus anywhere near that God forsaken section of town is asking for problems.

There are lands available outside of the DMZ that don't require purchasing buildings and homes from the private sector.

All this FREE money has caused a myopic view of reality.

April 6, 2010 at 5:03 PM 
Anonymous Corey Clay said...

It is frustrating when people become so cynical about the leadership in the schools that they snap to judgment that whatever estimates the schools make must be a "load of junk."

That being said, school leadership need to be a better job in explaining their estimates and they need to address some of the public's general concerns, including safety.

I am not here to defend the leadership of Lorain City Schools, but I do fear that in Lorain there a rush to negative judgment by many citizens regarding anything that comes from local government, and I don't see that being a healthy or productive attitude. Skepticism, I think, is healthy and necessary. Outright rejection, however, leads us nowhere.

April 7, 2010 at 12:03 AM 
Anonymous Loraine Ritchey said...

Never said it was about me ..YOU asked a question
"First, $150k per home to purchase, relocate tenants and demolish? Seriously? We're talking about a blighted area."
I tried to answer ( knowing the process and figures that come with Eminent Domain situations)that is all. I do not have enough information on the "school issue" to make an educated decision. I had hoped to garner more insight by reading this blog post and comments but.........

April 7, 2010 at 7:46 AM 
Anonymous Ex-Lorainite said...

Corey, you probably missed this statement from the "leadership":


"Cost figures were not previously released because “we didn’t want to taint people’s views on the project,” Fischer said. “We were looking for input without having people’s views tailored one way or the other.”


What??? Did Fischer really say that???

And you regard my comments as CYNICAL?

It quacks like a duck, it walks like a duck and it looks like a duck...

...but you want me to believe it's not a duck?

April 7, 2010 at 9:54 AM 
Blogger ge13031 said...

Ex-Lorainite

Were you at any of the meetings ? Evidently not or you would not have made such a comment. Mr Fischer explained in the beginning that this was a series of visioning meetings, dreaming with no dollars (or commitments) attached. If you did not want to dream, vote no! If you did want to dream, what would you want included ? How can you cost something that is not defined ?

April 9, 2010 at 1:00 PM 
Anonymous Ex-Lorainite said...

ge13031,

Do you seriously believe "they" didn't have their "dream" already planned?

The sites were already selected with a vision.

Hook, line and sinker dude, they got you.

April 9, 2010 at 7:22 PM 
Blogger ge13031 said...

Sorry, if the site was cast in concrete it would have been presented as a finished product with exact property descriptions, costs, conceptual drawings, funding, funding sources, glossy handouts, PPT presentations, webpages etc, etc, etc, the way it is usually done. Why set yourself up as a target for abuse when it isn't necessary ????

April 10, 2010 at 7:15 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with what denise said. That area is horrible, and not to mention that area is going to be congested with traffic?? I keep asking...what is the school system thinking? to me none of it makes sense, but then again I am not suprise, after all it is the Lorain School System, the same System who has needed help for a while now, People keep saying "Voice your opinion" but do they really listen? NO...I don't think so. Lorain will still do what they want, Their moto is "Putting the children first" hahahaha yea right!!! Thats why I am puling mine from Lorain, and I hear there are going to be many more...now thats going forward isn't it!!

April 12, 2010 at 12:20 PM 
Anonymous Grammy said...

Hindsight is 20/20 but the perfect site for the high school complex would have been where they re-built Washington elementary and Johnny Wilson middle school. They could have put the highschool in that space and it would have been right by the stadium, track, locker room and we could still have kept the baseball fields and other sports facilities at the Admiral King site in use. Of course, now it's too late. We still are not considering anything other than what Mr. Giardini and the Port Authority have suggested. The schools and/or the city cannot afford to purchase any of these properties, nor should we trade anything to them for those areas. Let's look at what property is available that the schools already own. Then let's look at an area that is near the river, near the new river project of the mayor's, already has streets, lighting and ready to go without additional traffice concerns. The south side of Colorado Avenue where the city is looking for a tenant anyway. Come on, open your eyes and look around at reality.

April 12, 2010 at 6:10 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, I question the safey of the areas being discussed for the new high school.

Lorain Catholic and its 27 acres, which is located in a NICE neighborhood, and is somewhat centrally located between East and West sides, has NEVER been discussed as far as I know.

It sold a couple years ago for LESS THAN $400,000 and the buyer may be interested in selling at a profit. Has he been asked?

I think ALL Lorain parents, high, middle and low income families, would feel much better about a school located in this area, than other areas mentioned.

April 16, 2010 at 12:48 AM 

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