LORAIN — Better Block is coming to Lorain.
The organization, which is aimed at empowering communities to promote growth and vibrant neighborhoods, will be taking over Broadway from Fifth Street to Eighth Street on May 19.
Lorain County Health Department and event spokeswoman Kat Bray said Lorain Better Block came about as part of a plan to make residents more mobile through walking and biking, and will help Lorain residents envision the ideal active-transportation neighborhood.
“It’s an opportunity for the public and stakeholders to experience change before it’s made permanent,” she said. “For example, there will be temporary mid-block crossings and temporary protected bike lanes. We want to show what the best block in Lorain could look like.”
Mayor Chase Ritenauer said he’s excited to see what the event, which is a partnership between the city, Lorain County Health Department, Lorain Public Library, Lorain Proud, Lorain Police Department, House of Jevon, the Gonzalez family and United Way of Greater Lorain County, brings to Broadway.
“I can’t help but think that it is a positive prelude to the Broadway Streetscape, hotel and other projects coming to Broadway in the next few years,” he said.
Broadway Streetscape, which is funded by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, will create larger sidewalks along Broadway north of 10th Street and will improve signage in the downtown district.
The Broadway Building also is slated to be turned back into a hotel by next summer after a deal between the Lorain Port Authority and Cleveland-based developer Ariel Ventures LLC was struck at the end of last year.
Similar Better Block events have taken place across Northeast Ohio, including one in Cuyahoga Falls and three in Akron since 2015.
Akron Planning and Urban Development Director Jason Segedy said the events, which took place in 2015, 2016 and 2017, were very good at helping the city envision its ideal neighborhood.
“Planning a city isn’t a spectator sport,” he said. “We wanted people to see everything and think, ‘Wow this is really cool,’ and sort of dangle it in front of them and get them to thinking about how we could make this more permanent.”
Segedy said what’s great about the Better Block events is that anyone can step forward and organize them to try and make their area better, and Akron definitely saw a great enthusiasm for their events.
“Now that we’ve had the events, we’re really looking at the implementation stage,” he said. “But these events help communities re-imagine their city in real time and in three dimensions.”
Lorain Better Block organizers are seeking volunteers and vendors for the event, and Bray said they would like to see as many local people involved as possible.
“We really want local and Lorain vendors,” she said. “We want as many residents to come out and see this as possible.”
For more information on the event, visit lorainbetterblock.com.