October 25, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria mayor offers 2 plans to boost businesses

Holly Brinda

Holly Brinda

ELYRIA — Mayor Holly Brinda has held off unveiling her full economic development plan for the city, but she has showed her interest in working with small businesses and promoting business growth.

Brinda on Monday offered two ideas to help companies get money and/or property.

Public-private partnership

The first is forming the Elyria Community Improvement Corp., a nonprofit organization that can acquire properties in prime business areas of the city. It will give the city arms’ length control over development projects while shielding city government from unnecessary liabilities, Brinda said.

“This is a proactive tool that allows the city to respond quickly to economic development proposals,” Brinda said. She presented the idea to members of City Council’s Community Development and Finance Committees Monday night.

She reminded Council members that larger cities have turned to private-public partnerships to transform their communities.

Twenty years ago, the Gordon Square Arts District in Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood formed a partnership between the city and developers to convert the area into a destination neighborhood.

Brinda said at least five possible projects could benefit from the Community Improvement Corp. in Elyria, including possible land donations downtown as well as the old General Industries property.

City officials are conducting a market analysis of downtown, Cleveland Street and Midway Mall business districts with a grant from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.

Officials hope private property owners will put their money on the table so the new corporation can assist them, said Attorney Jack Waldeck Jr., of Walter Haverfield LLP, who handles the city’s real estate interests.

“It’s the only real way projects are going to happen in the future,” he said. “There is no real reason for a developer to rehab a commercial property unless they can team up with a city to make it happen. It’s the way East Fourth Street in downtown Cleveland was put back together. It wouldn’t be the way it is today without the city of Cleveland’s help, without federal tax dollars and without private developers all putting their money in the mix.”

The shopping centers around the Van Aken Shaker Square district in Shaker Heights also benefited from a similar funding mix, Waldeck said.

Council members seemed to favor the idea, believing it would give developers an incentive to work with the city on future deals.

Councilman Jack Baird, R-at large, wondered how both the Lorain and Lorain County port authorities would come into play, since the function of a CIC and a port authority are similar. But Brinda and Waldeck said neither port authority is positioned to do what the city needs to do at this time.

Revamping loan program

Brinda’s second idea is to change the way the city loans money to downtown business owners.

The city has a revolving loan program, but is looking to revamp it into the new Elyria Growth Opportunity Fund.

James Graham, the city’s economic development specialist, said a few tweaks in the loan program will make it a better product for business owners, especially those in the targeted downtown area.

“Banks are in the business of risk diversion and not funding small businesses,” Graham said.

With small loans, the city could make a big impact, Brinda said.

The existing revolving loan fund has a $10,000 cap per loan application. The money can be used only on facade improvements or code enforcement for downtown businesses.

The proposed change would open up funding for other uses such as working capital and allowing for the purchase of machinery and equipment.

It would have a floor of $5,000 to $10,000 for working capital and machinery and equipment. The floor will be the same of $5,000 for facade improvements and exterior code compliance, but the maximum loan will be increased to $15,000.

The loan money comes from Community Development Block Grant funds. Brinda said in the future the pot of loan money will come from a combination of block grant funds and possibly philanthropic donations, with the hope of one day weaning the fund off the city’s allotment of federal funding.

In other news:

It’s just a sliver of vacant property, but Council voted Monday to sell land to a longtime business neighbor. The 20-by-128-feet parcel on Elbe Street is sandwiched between the Elyria Spring & Specialty Holding Co. and another business. It is a fenced in, grassy area.

The property has been appraised at $3,000. Elyria Spring will pay the appraised value of the property as well as any filing fees and recording fees.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.


  • Sis Delish

    Yawn…

  • Exposing Trolls

    Maybe, just maybe, instead of everyone coming on here trying to act like they are the solution to this problem… Maybe instead of attempting to make one liners…
    Maybe offer some solutions, something that can be tried…and convey it without being rude, curt or belligerent?
    Maybe? This time?

    • todd

      What was yours? I missed YOUR solution amongst calling others trolls. Plus if a mayor is looking for ideas from a newspaper forum then we are already lost.

      • Exposing Trolls

        MY solution is to not think I am the solution.

        • Sis Delish

          Who Posted This?:

          “Majority rules, that means that if someone gets more votes, they win.
          How is it the GOP Gang does not get that.
          “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life.”
          Nor will that get you votes, so keep up the good work pushing anyone and everyone away with your rants, love to help in any way I can.”

          I guess you were right, you are Not the Solution.

          BTW, I’ve got 2,376 Votes, You have Less than 100.

          You Lose.

          • Exposing Trolls

            Cute
            I rest my case.
            :)

          • saltydog77

            You’re correct. Lorain County under Democrat rule for decades has brought so many jobs to Lor Co we cant keep up with all the people moving in to fill those job positions.

          • Exposing Trolls

            1145 Comments, 2389 upvotes
            About 2.08 upvotes per comment.

            31 Comments, 111 upvotes.
            About 3.58 upvotes per comment.

            I will let you guess who is who, :)

            Saying “You Lose” Seems to be the same as “Mission Accomplished” don’t you think?

          • Sis Delish

            You must be exhausted from upvoting your own posts all day long, but hey, its a job, right?

            Last check, 2,390 remains a landslde victory using your rules vs. a measly and paltry 111 self-congratulatory clicks.

          • Exposing Trolls

            it’s #wordcrimes
            :)

          • Exposing Trolls

            Last check, 2,390 remains a landslde victory using your rules vs. a measly and paltry 111 self-congratulatory clicks.

            What Rules!?!!
            I think this is where the Knight takes the Bishop!
            :)

    • Mark B

      Manage City spending better , stop asking for more tax money every election day and maybe more business would be willing to come to Elyria if property owners were not the sole support for all of the people on entitlements that contribute nothing back to the city.
      make the city workers actually do their job, for example trimming weeds around street signs, fire hydrants ect ….. if the city looks like crap who or what company would want to move here ? If you make the place look nice people will have more of a sense of pride in the city. When the street department does a crap job patching pot holes , toss in hot mix and tamp it down with a shovel, instead of Rolling it down then the patch is not smooth and don’t last. This is all things we are already paying for , it would not cost the city one more red cent , but would go along way in improving the image of Elyria. Companies do not want to relocate or come to a city that looks like a ghetto.

      • Retreat

        I would not relocate my business to Elyria just because it does not offer a large enough customer base that is able to spend excess of cash. Plus I would not want my Banker to be the City. It is what I call an entitlement but on a capital level.

      • GreatRedeemer

        Today I saw two trucks with 5 employees tossing street patch
        on pot holes. One guy in each truck driving, 3 guys taking turns shoveling patch into the hole. No roller or anything. A semi drove over the patch, and spewed it around the street. Perhaps a more modernistic approach to street management would bring more business.

      • johns62

        saying the city wants more tax money is just a lazy man’s excuse when he has nothing.

  • SniperFire

    Best way to approach this is to get rid of dependency pimp politicians who actually loathe business and dirty profits – and replace them with folks who don’t always look to punish success.

  • SniperFire

    What does Matt Lundy, who is proudly anti-business and assaults those who believe this sort of corporate growth is negative, think about it?

  • saltydog77

    In order for a private citizen to frequent a business they must have $ to spend. That means people need jobs. Jobs come because the employment base has the necessary set of skills that business need to thrive and prosper. Where jobs are people move to, then more business to support people. I realize it’s sort of like the chicken or the egg but people with skills should come first. How about some program that teaches skills for the jobs available.

    • Sis Delish

      They already have that curriculum in-place: Campaign Workers.

    • Mark B

      Or more places need to accept the EBT card .

  • bigmacky

    here’s a thought, quit being so strict on companies wanting to come here – how many companies decided to go elsewhere in the last 8 years because of the boy blunder wanting more more more more. While small business is good, Elyria needs a bigger corp to come in, we lost York, Moen, Fisher-Guide, general industries, part of Invacare, the mall area is nothing but depressing, Unless something is done, Elyria is going to fade away into oblivion. Yes its cheaper to manufacture goods elsewhere blah blah, but Elyria has become a bar town – so what needs done? I wish I knew but I am sure someone has ideas that could/will work

    • Mark B

      Hell even the bars are closing , there use to be 10 or 15 on broad street alone and now there is only like 4

    • johns62

      wow so many economic development experts here. Youz guys should set up a consulting firm

  • Razorback Twou

    Taking advice from a Lawyer? And just how much money has Attorney Jack Waldeck Jr., of Walter Haverfield LLP invested in this project?

  • golfingirl

    I would suggest Elyria shrinks in size, concentrating the population and any viable businesses into a smaller area.

    Demolish the blighted areas of the city, where run down housing and decaying neighborhoods invite drug users and criminals. Areas which consume a disproportionately high percentage of city revenue, through police enforcements and other city services.

    Elyria is shrinking, that is fact. It can do so in a manner which is sustainable, or counter-productive. Elyria needs to control its shrinkage.

    Focus on building a city center, where residents want to come and live. Small in geography, but high in quality of life. Surround it by residents who want to be there, and let the others live in their own trash.

    Get rid of all the rest of the “garbage” outside this city center and return it to nature, through demolition or by giving the property to adjacent property owners who take care of their land and have pride in their city.

    Forget about the Midway Mall area, tear it all down. It will never compete with Avon Commons, or Crocker Park. Put the resources elsewhere.

    Tear down the neighborhoods where people don’t care how they live, don’t take care of their properties and live off the government. These people will never contribute to prosperity.

    It is time to take out the garbage…. create a SMALLER safe area for people to live and shop. Build a “new” city around those who can support themselves, and have the income to support commercial development and local business.

    Return the rest back to nature.

  • golfingirl

    The irony in the whole economic development dilemma is that the very persons the administrations over the years have driven out of cities, are the very ones they are now “begging” to come back in..

    Those “greedy” capitalists, who were taxed and regulated out of many towns, and simply took their businesses elsewhere, are now being asked to return. In their place came another type of greed…the greed for illegal money through the selling of drugs, robberies, burglaries, prostitution etc.

    No government EVER saved a city, it was the private sector who brought them all back from the brink of death. The very people so many despised, and still do, for making a profit.

    Money drives development, the City of Elyria has none. So where does it come from? Private investors and business owners who are willing to take a chance, in the hope of a return of their investment and not be criticized when they make money.

    Stop catering to those who don’t contribute to the city. The takers have, and will continue, to drive any city into ruins. Focus on those who care and are willing to make a positive commitment to the City of Elyria.

    Private business will never come back, until you can prove the streets are safe, and their is sufficient money to support their businesses from the residents.

    Again, focus on one area of the city, bring these types of people together….and forget about the rest.

    • Exposing Trolls

      Most sensible thing you have ever written, well done, bravo.
      The only thing I would disagree with is your use of the word irony.

    • Mark B

      Letting OSP run amuck and harass those who drive the streets of Elyria does not help either , Elyria has a police force and don’t need OSP acting like vultures leaching off of the residence of Elyria

    • No_Excuse_For_This

      Yes, brava, golfingirl, it is rare when I am in agreement with you on an issue, but you nailed this one. Cleveland did this in the 1990′s when they turned ghetto wasteland at East 79th St. into a beautiful gated community that brought both Clinton and Gore into town to give the city accolades for their ingenuity. We could certainly take a page out of their book.

  • John Peshek

    First line of the article. “Mayor Holly Brinda has held off unveiling her full economic development plan for the city”. Would someone please tell me when she plans to unveil this great plan?

    • Razorback Twou

      After another tax levy is defeated by the voters, then she’ll blame them that her plan can’t work.

    • golfingirl

      She has no plan.

      That is her plan.

  • golfingirl

    “Banks are in the business of risk diversion and not funding small businesses,” Graham said.

    (Think you meant “risk aversion,” not “risk diversion.”)

    Anyway.

    No, banks are in business to make money! If a person cannot get a loan from a bank, maybe the city should not loan them money either. They are high risk.

    But wait, now I understand…..it is taxpayer money and the government can’t be bothered with managing money…..after all, it was never theirs to begin with.

    Doesn’t County Commissioner Kalo still owe on such a loan?

  • Joe Flabetz

    3 years in office and just now is she announcing a plan, piece meal. She has lost business and jobs do to her ego, superior attitude, and now election time is coming, so it’s time to “fix” everything. She has no positive relationship with council, and really doesn’t care. She is the brightest person around, just ask her.

    • golfingirl

      The fact is….she has no plan!