November 23, 2014


UPDATED: Lorain mayor says city continuing to improve

Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenaur gives the State of the City address at DeLuca's Place in the Park on Thursday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenaur gives the State of the City address at DeLuca’s Place in the Park on Thursday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

LORAIN — Despite hard economic times and less state money, Mayor Chase Ritenauer said Lorain is improving.

“That’s the spirit of Lorain,” Ritenauer told some 200 people Thursday in his third annual State of the City address at DeLuca’s Place in the Park. “We battle. We work through it. We grit. We grind. We get through it.”

Ritenauer said the road won’t be quick or easy. However, roads will be smoother in Lorain. Thanks to taxpayers’ passage of a levy in 2012, Ritenauer said the city spent $18 million on road improvements in 2013 and will spend up to $9.5 million this year.

Ritenauer said removal of “onerous requirements” made bidding more competitive, saving $2.2 million on roadway projects and $2 million on waterline projects.

The requirements loosened local hiring requirements for city projects and angered union leaders including Harry Williamson, Lorain County AFL-CIO and Communications Worker Local 370 president.

Williamson, who attended the speech, said afterward that he was hopeful he could work with Ritenauer to increase local hiring of union workers. Williamson said he supported Ritenauer’s commitment to infrastructure improvements.

Besides infrastructure, Ritenauer said Lorain’s quality of life is improving, to which he credited police. He said violent crime remained level in 2013 from 2012, but property crime dropped 12 percent and overall crime decreased 11 percent.

To continue improving quality of life and public safety, Ritenauer urged passage of Issue 18, a 0.25 percent income tax renewal levy on the ballot in May. The five-year levy, which raises $2.4 million annually, was passed in 2005 in response to the closing of Lorain’s Ford Motor Co., plant.

“If we want to continue to see investment and forward movement in Lorain, we have to renew this levy,” he said.

Ritenauer’s 33-minute speech also touched on criticism by some landlords and real estate agents regarding new point-of-sale inspections. The inspections began in January and require buyers or sellers to rectify violations before sales are allowed and can involve establishing escrow accounts to pay for repairs. Ritenauer estimated about 25 percent of inspections will result in improvements being required.

Ritenauer said sales of deficient homes has “ravaged” Lorain’s neighborhoods and perpetuated blight. The inspections will help stop blight that has, “wreaked havoc on Lorain for far too long,” he said.

Ritenauer’s anti-blight initiative also includes what he described as an aggressive demolition plan targeting a few hundred properties. About 170 homes have been demolished since Ritenauer took office in 2012.

Ritenauer has tied improved housing and infrastructure to economic development. While acknowledging the effect of market fluctuations, Ritenauer touted recent multi-million dollar investments by Republic Steel and U.S. Steel in their Lorain plants and the upcoming expansion at Camoco, an auto parts manufacturer.

With the recent removal of electrical lines, Ritenauer said Lorain will aggressively market waterfront property to developers and make downtown more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly.

Anthony Gallo, president of the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce, praised Ritenauer’s efforts and the tone of the speech.

“He’s still giving hope to people that there are better things down the road,” said Gallo whose organization sponsored the speech. “There’s still a lot more in his agenda and still a lot more that is going to come from him.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or


  • golfingirl

    “We grit?” Isn’t the word grit a noun?

    Or perhaps he was referring the Canadian definition which means you are a member of the Liberal Party. That must be it.

    • Zen Grouch

      Some words are both nouns and verbs.

      Grit is one of those words.

      • golfingirl

        In this case, it was used improperly. If it is to be used as a noun, it needs to have a verb in front of it.

        I cannot think of any use of the word “grit” as a verb. Not being disagreeable, just nothing comes to mind.

        Have an example?

        • golfingirl

          Never mind, thought of an example. “Don’t grit your teeth.”

          Anyway, my point was it was used improperly.

          • Zen Grouch

            In the future don’t stress your brain, look at a dictionary.

            If you don’t own one then there are about a dozen good ones online.

  • Tom

    firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger

  • golfingirl

    I know the definition, but the phrase “we grit” makes no sense whatsoever.

    Maybe, “we have grit”, we “possess grit” etc.

    But “we grit?” I would have thought a State of the City Address would have at least been proofread.

    Just find it humorous.

    • oldruss

      What’s sad is that it WAS proofread.

  • Chance

    Think you need to spend some more on the roads. I could not hardly walk to an appointment on Broadway with my walker. The old snow crews used to clean the snow up and haul it away. The pot holes have been the worst, at least when there was a big hole they would fill it up. I know it was a bad winter, but come on Lorain streets department,. They must of cut all your overtime.

  • ekwaykway

    Gettin’ mighty thin on top Chase.

  • SniperFire

    This free campaign ad brought to you by the C-T.

    • Zen Grouch

      Sorry Tootsie…

      It’s the Republican’ts who are in campaign mode 24/7/365.

      Most Democrats actually work at the job they were elected to do, like giving a ‘State of the City’ address, or helping out local businesses by donating their personal time.

      A concept you and your Tea Baggin’ buddies will never understand.

      • Daniel Sutter

        Lorain, republicans campaigning? your smoking some good stuff. The great traitor in chef has been campaigning everyday (except the vacations) he got into office costing the taxpayers billions. What democrat been doing their job????

        • Zen Grouch


          Seems I overgeneralized.

          • Daniel Sutter

            ?????? When you give the main city employees a 20 percent raise, it not donating your time. I do give the mayor credit for not bowing down to the unions and the union’s dems, but as the council members that supported that, the union will vote him out.
            Doing a job they were elected for?? Raise taxes, fees, water rates, sewer rates, adding water run off fee, largest mayor staff in history (without results). Jobs leaving the city daily.
            They can’t even remove snow from the downtown so you can park or cross the street, and when it is publicized, they only do one block. (don’t remember them donating their time shoveling after work)

            Democrats are truly the mindless sheep.

          • Zen Grouch


            I guess you’re really screwed then.

          • Daniel Sutter

            We are all screwed (except those on the city’s friend and family plan). We’re heading to be another Detroit, but what would a liberal care about that?

          • Zen Grouch

            Republican’ts love to talk about how the soulless liberals are making everything worse for the hard working citizens.

            You guys know exactly where to place the blame for everything, but I don’t hear any viable solutions coming from the cry baby section…

            OK, so what’s your solution for Lorain, other than packing up your hovel and moving to Texas?

          • Daniel Sutter

            You don’t hear anything because you wont listen, just keep saying teabagger and showing these fine folks here how stupid and desperate you are (job well done)

          • Zen Grouch


            YOU’RE here for intelligent dialog, ‘eh?

            **well excuuuuuuussssse me!**

          • Zen Grouch

            20% raises do seem like a lot. I’d be curious to see how the raises average out over a 5 or 10 year period. As in, are these raises given out every year or what?

            And who are “the main city employees” you’re talking about?

          • Daniel Sutter

            Just for mayor’s staff and heads of department, was in the chronicle about 9 months back (apprx). If people would pay attention to whats going on, they would never re-elect any of our idiots. But lorain is full of good sheep.

          • Zen Grouch

            Couldn’t find anything about 20% raises through a search of The Chronicle’s articles…

            Seems like that would have been a huge story that you can easily refer back to…

            …if it’s true that is.

  • stillsleepyeyes

    In translation this is what it means……………there is still money out there in the city to keep filling gardwennies and the unions pockets and we won’t stop until they have all of it…………….

  • Mack

    Nothing but negative. The problem with Lorain seems to be with many of the inhabitants that provide little but negative opinions. Very sad

    • stillsleepyeyes

      Yeah your right it is sad, the saddest part is they can’t change it.

  • GreatRedeemer

    I saw those new Ford Interceptor Explorers … sweet ride, How are the roads again.

  • LugNutt

    Does he live in Lorain? Probably not.

  • Nick25

    Democrat communication- make stuff up, lie, make stuff up- do it with conviction, no matter the enormity of the lie, your idiotic constituents will believe you.

  • bdid.d

    I think that all political parties, elected officials , police and EMS personnel should live in the same city they are supposed to be helping/ defending…

  • Daniel Sutter

    Getting better for his staff that got 20 percent raises this year… Me, out of work and my taxes are skyrocketing. Cant go a month without someone going through my car at night (probably hoping to get something to trade to the drug dealer down the street). Now I have to worry about the city with their new standards and going to site me for whatever I cant afford to fix to their high standards, and more houses will continue to go vacant because of their new law about buying houses. This town is great if your in the friends and family plan of the Democrats.

    • Zen Grouch

      You sound like the Democrats you depict…

      Crying in your beer waiting for someone to fix up your dilapidated property in a crummy, crime infested neighborhood, because you can’t afford to on your own.

      On second thought, maybe you don’t sound like the sheep you revile, you’ve a much more jealous tone about what others have.

      • Daniel Sutter

        Just sick of your liberals cry republican this and teabagger that and ignoring the problems.
        How is it jealous to critique your city for overpay its buddy buddy top end jobs? It’s holding your politicians responsible for their actions (I know you just want to blame a republican, must be killing you that there are non locally to blame). It is apparent that the left doesn’t like to hold the left accountable, they are good sheep (just like you)
        My Neighbor hood use to be good before Clinton’s fanny and freddy housing crash that caused the welfare to more in and take it down (great points of pride for the left).
        Sound like your one of the social deadbeats or on the local friends and family plan, most of us don’t have that luxury. But keep smoking your dope and blast other people, one day you’ll grow up and use your real name.

        • Zen Grouch

          I guess it’s healthy that you have something to direct your ignorant rage towards…

          …too bad you folks aren’t really geared for doing anything positive to correct the situation.

          But that’s OK, if you guys want to sit on the sidelines, Obama will have to do it without ya’! :)

          **can you spell executive order?**

          • Daniel Sutter

            Ignorant rants? that your area of expertise. But keep being a good sheep for the liberals, you do that and your government money will keep coming..

          • Zen Grouch

            I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em…

          • Daniel Sutter

            Maybe you should wait till the smoke clears before you call them.

          • Zen Grouch

            Seriously… that’s funny coming from a Republican’t!

            If I waited until the smoke cleared from the ears of you and the like…

            …I’d be waiting forever.