LORAIN — Rey Carrion, who oversaw Lorain’s economic development and anti-blight initiatives for many years, is resigning as Department of Building, Housing and Planning director.
Carrion said Tuesday that he is taking a job with a Lorain County nonprofit that he didn’t want to name. He said the opportunity was too good to bypass.
“I was completely, completely taken aback by the job description,” he said. “It fit my skill set and my personality better than anything I have seen in my life.”
Carrion, a 47-year-old husband and father of two grown children, earns $75,345 annually, said Auditor Ron Mantini.
Carrion was hired in 1992 as an intern. He left about two years later to become a Lorain Metropolitan Housing Authority inspector and returned in 1996 as a planner in the Community Development Department.
The department earned a bad reputation due to its longtime director Sandy Prudoff, now imprisoned for federal corruption. Despite the problems, Carrion said the department did a lot of good.
He cited low-interest home improvement loans provided to residents through federal Community Development Block Grants. “Seeing what it did for the families, that was very gratifying for all of us,” he said.
Carrion said he also was proud of economic development the department helped spur such as job creation at Camaco, a car parts manufacturer, and Lorain Manufacturing. He also worked on financing for Deerfield Estates and Lighthouse Village, two retail business complexes. And Carrion was active in Light Up Lorain, a holiday lighting celebration designed to draw people to downtown businesses.
In September, Carrion was named by Mayor Chase Ritenauer to head the Department of Building, Housing and Planning, a department that merged the Community Development and Building departments.
Carrion oversees about 17 employees. The department’s responsibilities include new anti-blight initiatives which Carrion has helped lead.
Ritenauer said Carrion will leave June 13 and he hopes to name a replacement by July. Ritenauer said Carrion has done an often tough job well.
“We’ve made steps in the right direction,” Ritenauer said. “I’m appreciative of his efforts.”