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Lorain Better Block offers glimpse of what's possible

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    Madison Higgins, 9, of Lorain, blends a smoothie by pedaling a special bicycle, along with the help of Lorain Lions Club member Barry Buck. The bike, which the Lions bought for Clearview Schools, helps diabetic students control their blood sugar through exercise with a healthy snack, under supervision by a school nurse.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Those visiting Lorain Better Block on Saturday afternoon could borrow a bicycle to ride down the temporary bike lanes installed on Washington Avenue in Lorain.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Asaiah Russ, 2, of Lorain, plays basketball with his mom, Ginger, on Saturday afternoon at Lorain Better Block.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Those visiting Lorain Better Block on Saturday afternoon could borrow a bicycle to ride down a temporary bike lane on Washington Avenue in Lorain.

    KRISTIN BAUER/ CHRONICLE

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    Those visiting Lorain Better Block on Saturday afternoon could listen to live music at Veterans Par in downtown Lorain.

    KRISTIN BAUER/ CHRONICLE

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LORAIN — Lorain residents gathered along a block for a day of fun and community outreach.

Lorain Better Block took over Washington Avenue between West Erie Avenue and West Eighth Street on Saturday afternoon, with vendors and community members taking part.

“What would a block in Lorain look like if we worked together?” said co-organizer Bart Gonzalez. “It’s not the city we live in; it’s the people in it.”

Area businesses hosted games, sold merchandise and offered free swag at their tables and tents. One business offered free massages and gave makeovers to residents. Another table displayed their “fender-blender,” where people could hop on a bike and make a smoothie by pedaling.

A laser-tag game attracted children and even some of the event’s organizers.

Gonzalez pointed out several of the local businesses and said the event would not possible without them.

Also on display was a temporary bike path along Washington Avenue. Lorain County Library launched its Go Lorain Bike Share program where adults, 18 and older, can borrow a bike with their library card. At the Better Block, bike renters took a ride around the block, so they could learn how to correctly use the bike path.

The library also gave away 70 free helmets. Helmets are required to participate in Go Lorain Bike Share and are available to borrow with the bike. The bike path was only temporary, but based on feedback during the event, it could become permanent. Gonzalez said it’s a great way for children who ride their bikes to school to get there safely.

Better Block was held in collaboration with Lorain County Public Health, Lorain County Metro Parks and Lorain County Community Action Agency. Participants on Saturday could fill out surveys about the bike program and bike path.

Willoway Nurseries Inc. of Avon leased about $4,000 worth of plants that were placed around the area. The plants would be returned to the nursery after the event.

Five arbors built by Lorain High School students and dedicated to different branches of the military were up for a silent auction in the Veterans Park area.

Several musicians gave performances at the amphitheatre throughout the day, playing jazz music, acoustic and folk.

There were more than 60 vendors at Better Block, representing local businesses, churches and nonprofits or selling food.

This was the second Lorain Better Block, and co-organizer Eric Newsome said it helps the community.

“People don’t realize that these are the type of things that actually strengthen a community,” he said.

Contact Laina Yost at 329-7121 or lyost@chroniclet.com.


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