Discussion centers on parking at South of Lorain Chatham/Monroe Corridor Block Club meeting
(Plain Press, October 2012) About fifty residents and stakeholders, attending a South of Lorain Chatham/Monroe Corridor Block Club meeting on September 4th at the St. Ignatius High School Breen Center, spent much of the meeting discussing parking problems in the neighborhood.
The discussion started with a presentation by Hansa House, of their plans to add a brewery, restaurant and outdoor patio to their current building which serves as a retail outlet for European imported goods. The proposal calls for 246 seats in the new establishment. Because the business is located in a Pedestrian Retail Overlay District, the parking requirements are one third less than in other area. The new business would be required to secure 41 parking spaces, plus one space for each employee. However, attendees at the meeting noted that the development would be built on the Hansa House’s current parking lot. Those 30 spaces are currently being leased in the evenings to Touch Supper Club. Neighborhood activists suggested that the new parking spaces needed for the establishment and the reduced spaces for Touch Supper Club would amount to close to 100 spaces.
The possibility of leasing spaces from St. Ignatius High School was mentioned. Residents were skeptical whether such an arrangement would fit with St. Ignatius High Schools long term plans for the area. They suggested that if a deal is made with St. Ignatius High School, a lease of at least 5 years should be obtained.
One resident wondered what the point was of granting a variance for another food and beer place saying the neighborhood was already over saturated with restaurants and breweries. He said, “It just feeds into the food and booze culture.” Others wondered whether the restaurant would have items on the menu that were affordable.
Ohio City Inc Executive Director Eric Wobser sparked some discussion when he suggested that residents in areas north and south of Lorain could vote their streets to be permit parking only zones. For a $15 or $20 a year permit for each vehicle, they could restrict parking on their streets, he said.
One resident said it was unfair to have to pay for parking on his own street. “That’s unfair. Why do we have to pay for somebody else to make money?” he said.
Another resident suggested that a change in culture was needed. He noted one area food establishment that offered a 15% discount to those who came by bike or public transit. He suggested more effort to get people to bike, walk or use public transit. He expressed concern that St. Ignatius High School work to change the culture of the student body to get more students to see alternatives to driving to school.
Ward 3 Councilman Joe Cimperman said that efforts are underway in the neighborhood to increase the use of bicycles. He noted recently announced plans for bike lanes on Detroit Avenue and discussions about improving biking along Lorain Avenue.
In other matters Second District Commander Keith Sulzer gave a brief report. He noted a Second District fundraiser for Providence House raised over $3,000 for baby showers. He urged residents to lock their cars, noting that it takes thieves only seconds to steal a car. Sulzer urged residents with concerns about quality of life issues to call him at 216-623-5205 or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Providence House President and Chief Executive Officer Natalie Leek-Nelson gave an update on the new $2.3 million dollar addition to their facilities on W. 30th street. She said that when the new building is completed this November, Providence House will be able to increase the number of children it serves at one time from 11 to 20. It will be able to increase the age range to newborn up to age sixteen (currently, it is newborn to age 6). Leek-Nelson says the crisis nursery serves children at high risk of abuse or neglect. She said Providence House allows parents to voluntarily leave their children in a safe environment while the parents get the services they need to help with chronic physical illness, mental health issues, or drug or alcohol abuse. Once the parent gets the help they need, ninety-nine percent of the children are reunited with a parent or family member. Leek-Nelson says Providence House saves Cuyahoga County about $10 million a year in foster care costs. Leek-Nelson said she hoped to host a meeting of the block club in the new facility before the children move in.
The next meeting of the South of Lorain – Chatham/Monroe Block Club is scheduled for Tuesday, October 2nd at the Breen Center.
Editor’s Note: The Board of Zoning Appeals is scheduled to hear the Hansa House proposal on October 8th. Ohio City Inc is working with Hansa House to develop a new parking strategy to present to the South of Lorain Block Club at its October 2nd meeting.