Main Street Elyria, the organization that aimed to boost the profile of downtown Elyria, has returned from near dissolution.
Last year, news that the organization was out of money, in debt and getting rid of its only paid employee — Executive Director Tamela Grubb — left many to wonder whether it could survive. And the group no longer could afford the office space it occupied on Middle Avenue.
Now, less than a year later, Main Street Elyria is boasting that it has paid off its debt, is running in the black and, thanks to a partnership with Lorain National Bank, is operating from an office in the bank lobby.
Mary Ann Francis, co-chairwoman of the group’s board of directors, said the mission of Main Street Elyria remains intact.
“We went silent for a while and did that on purpose,” Francis said. “The board knew it needed to deal with some things. But we always said we would come back stronger.”
The group is advocating for cleanliness and safety, funding security cameras, paying for the Cleveland Pops orchestra performance during the Labor Day weekend, and finding sponsors for downtown flower planters and baskets as well as the annual Festival of Lights celebration in December.
In addition, the Lorain County Community Foundation awarded the organization a $10,000 grant. Main Street is trying to raise funds to match the grant. Functioning on less than $20,000 is a far cry from the organization’s budget of several years ago, which topped $100,000.
Chris Krasnobrucky, Main Street’s organizing committee chairwoman, said the group is thriving despite its lower financial profile because the board members are Elyrians first.
“We all live here. We want Elyria to be a vibrant and safe place people want to come to with their families,” she said.