LORAIN — Bids are open for the land Victory Park sits on, which would allow veterans groups to purchase the property.
Council approved opening the bids Monday, voting 9-3, with Mary Springowski, D-at large; Josh Thornsberry, D-Ward 8; and Greg Argenti, D-Ward 4, voting against the measure.
There was some discussion at Monday’s meeting, and Springowski strongly opposed the sale if it meant moving the monuments there.
“The reason I’m opposed to this is because this is the World War I memorial, the memorial to The Great War,” she said. “This is the angel that withstood the great tornado of Lorain, and it’s a testament to the resilience and the perseverance of not only this city but of this country, and I am very opposed to taking that away from the residents of the city and I think that it needs to remain.”
Ritenauer later said there may have been some confusion on what the vote actually meant.
“I think that some people may have thought that if they voted ‘yes,’ they were voting to move the monument,” he said. But that was not the case — a ‘yes’ vote only allowed the city to open bids on the parcels that make up the park. The ordinance was prompted by a veterans group saying it was interested in buying the land.
The land includes the Disabled American Veterans Louis Paul Proy Chapter 20 building.
While it is technically a public bid, meaning anyone can make an offer, Ritenauer said the city was in no way looking to sell it to a private company.
“I want to make it clear, I don’t intend to put this up and sell it to a for-profit business. I respect Victory Park, I respect the building there and the monument there, and when broached with the idea about a group being interested, this was the only way to go to do it legally,” he said.
The park includes the “Big V” and Lady Victory statues. Lady Victory was dedicated in 1922 to commemorate the 42 soldiers killed and 200 wounded from Lorain in World War I. After losing its sword during the 1924 tornado, it was replaced in 1948 and then again in 2013 after it was stolen 30 years prior.