Lorain Mayor Tony Krasienko likes to refer to the Black River as a jewel that has not yet been given its final polish.
But he's working on it.
The city hosted an event Friday to showcase the extensive work that has been done in the past few months to restore the Black River to its natural beauty.
A group of Lorain Port Authority officials, city workers and other invited guests took a boat ride along the river to witness the extensive improvements that have been made to the river and the wildlife surrounding it.
Heather Dardinger, environmental scientist for the engineering consulting group Arcadis, said that the river has come a long way in the past few years.
"We have seen so much improvement in the river and its appearance," Dardinger said.
One major effort is the Black River Restoration Project, which is along the lower Black River in Lorain. More than $6 million of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was awarded to the city to complete ecological restoration along a 1.5-mile stretch of the river.
To celebrate the improvements, the Black River will be the venue for a kayak-a-thon Sunday as part of the annual Port Fest.
The kayak-a-thon was designed to inform the public about the ecological restoration efforts that are under way.
"With all the work being done, we are hoping to draw in recreational fishers and people looking to canoe or kayak along the river," Krasienko said.
The event will include a competitive race as well as a casual float for those interested in taking their time and enjoying all of the improvements that have recently been made.
The fee for the competitive race is $20, and it's $5 for the casual float.
"I would encourage everyone to come out and see the river," Krasienko said. "This is just the beginning of the new and exciting things about to happen in the city of Lorain."
Contact Christina Graw at 329-7144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.