Black River Summit – Thursday March 29, 9 – 11:15 am, Lorain Palace Theater

March 13, 2018


The Black River Advisory Committee in concert with Lorain County, City of Lorain and the LoCo Yaks are proud to announce the first annual Black River Summit being held at the Lorain Palace Theater, 617 Broadway, Lorain OH 44052 from 9 am – 11:15 am on Thursday, March 29, 2018.

The Black River Summit is a celebration and informative gathering for all of those with an interest in the progress that Black River in Lorain County has made in the past 20 years. In the early 1980s the river was sick, it was known as the River of Fish Tumors. Children were told not to play in the water and no one used the river for recreation.

Things have certainly changed. Thanks to the EPA’s guidance and funding the people of Lorain County and particularly the City of Lorain have a beautiful ribbon of recreation on which to kayak, fish, lounge and bird watch. It has taken many years and millions of dollars to bring the river back from the brink of despair. In the past 10 years approximately 20 million dollars have been spent cleaning up the river. The Black River Advisory Committee has been informed that the Black River will soon complete all of its management actions and the Black River will move from being an Area of Concern (a designation from the EPA as being one of the worst of the worst for waters in the Great Lakes Basin) to a River in Recovery.
The recovery of the Black River is not the only thing occurring in Lorain County. The Lorain County, City of Lorain and the Lorain Port Authority are currently implementing a USEPA Areawide Planning Grant focused on redevelopment of six key land areas along the Black River. The Port and Lorain County have used assessment funds from the EPA to assist in the redevelopment of downtown buildings and other sites with success. The Lorain County Land Reutilization Corporation (Land Bank) whose mission is to return properties to productive reuse.

You are invited to this celebration. We will have several keynote speakers including: Tinka Hyde Director of US EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office in Chicago. Mayor John Antaramian from Kenosha, Wisconsin speaking about the success his community has experienced in redevelopment. (Kenosha has a similar location on a great lake and an industrial legacy.) Russ Gibson from the Ohio EPA Nonpoint Source Section Manager in the Division of Surface Water. As well as Ted Kalo, Lori Kokoski, and Matt Lundy the Lorain County Commissioners and Mayor Chase Ritenauer of the City of Lorain. We certainly hope to see you there to give you the opportunity to share our excitement with your audience.

For additional information please call 440-328-2322 and ask for Don Romancak.

Lorain’s Broadway still has potential for investors, developer says

Jon Veard in the Duane Building at 397 Broadway.


Lorain Harbor Area-Wide Planning Project Update

January 2018 – Happy New Year Lorain! Our project team has been working closely with key Lorain stakeholders, as well as the USEPA, to identify key sites and characteristics of Lorain that will facilitate a successful revitalization of sites along the Black River.

In preparation for conducting outreach around key brownfield sites, the Vita Nuova Planning team will be attending a number of meetings throughout Lorain to update the community and receive input from stakeholders and community members.

Progress to Date/Key Goals

Since the start of this project in August 2017, the Vita Nuova team has worked to complete several goals which laid the groundwork for ongoing progress in this project. The project team has worked to complete all tasks under Task 3, Research and Analysis, on the project schedule including:

  • review of existing plans and data
  • project area inventory and reuse prioritization
  • market analysis and reuse assessment
  • site prioritization and repositioning for the Expression of Interest process.

Going forward

As the Lorain AWP project progresses, Vita Nuova will be preparing to support Lorain in reaching out to the development community. We will prepare an Expression of Interest (EOI) package and supporting materials for key redevelopment sites. This will entail:

  • Updating the website –
  • Creating an EOI package and supporting materials
  • Identifying potential developers and end users
  • Finalizing the list of redevelopment sites.

EPA Leadership Tours Black River Sites

September 29, 2017 – USEPA Region 5 Section Chief Brooke Furio joined Tom Brown of the Lorain Port Authority and Don Romancak from Lorain County on a boat tour of the Black River with the Vita Nuova team. Starting at the mouth of the Black River with a view of the Lorain Harbor Lighthouse, the team traveled up along the banks of the Black River to identify potential catalytic sites and further familiarize the team with the project study area. The properties included in this segment of the project area vary widely from industrial and mixed use to residential. All were impressed with the amount of waterfront land that may be available for redevelopment. The boat tour was an excellent way to see all the hidden beauty along the banks of the Black River. For more photos of the river tour, click here.

EPA Awards $200,000 Brownfield Grant to Lorain County, Ohio

Contact Information: 

Rachel Bassler (


For Immediate Release: No. 16-OPA052

CHICAGO (Jan. 5, 2017) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a $200,000 grant to Lorain County to fund a cleanup and redevelopment plan for the 19.5-acre Pellet Terminal site, a former iron ore shipping dock located downtown. The City of Lorain, Lorain Growth Corp., Charleston Village, and the Black River Area of Concern are partnering with the county on the project.

The funding will be used to help plan for nature trails along Lake Erie and restore commerce in Broadway and 28th Street corridor. This area was affected by the downturn in the steel industry. Vacant industrial, commercial and residential structures create hazardous conditions for residents and deter redevelopment.

“EPA’s brownfield grant will help spur more revitalization efforts in downtown Lorain,” said Region 5 Acting Superfund Director Douglas Ballotti.

More information on the grant recipient:

More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: