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In Design: Lorain, Ohio--Broadway Avenue Enhancements
Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Graphic Designs by The Collaborative



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Many of the original buildings from the early 1900s are still standing in downtown Lorain, Ohio (pop. 68,652). The city is on the south shore of IWC Replica Watches Lake Erie in northeastern Ohio, about 30 miles west of Cleveland. The 1,720-seat Lorain Palace Theatre (circa 1928), Ohio's first motion picture theater, is still features loges, a crystal chandelier and a Wurlitzer pipe organ.


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Following an of analysis of traffic flow and speaking with city officials, a cross-section was created that maintains on-street parking along both sides of the street and expands the sidewalk width from 14 feet to 20 feet.


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The operable steel truss railway bridge is within view of downtown. The plan calls on constructing gateway elements reminiscent of the town's steel heritage at both ends of the 7-block district. The old U.S. Steel mills (1895-2008) stretch for nearly 3 miles on the city's south side. U.S. Steel once produced 67 percent of all U.S. steel. The Ford Assembly Plant (1958-2005) was also a pivotal economic driver.


Thanks to the creative thinking of Dale Vandersommen, P.E., city engineer for the city of Lorain, Ohio, what began as an Ohio DOT resurfacing project transpired into a new vision for Lorain's 7-block historic downtown district.

Lorian had a vibrant downtown in the 1950s and '60s, but like many cities along Ohio's Lake Erie shore, experienced significant loss of manufacturing jobs, and a mass exit to the suburbs, leaving Broadway Avenue and the downtown greatly diminished.

"To meet the city's vision for downtown Lorain it was important that our team include architects, landscape architects and graphic designers," explains Philip Enderle, a landscape architect principal with The Collaborative. After engaging the community and business owners in workshops and meetings, the planning team established four primary goals for Broadway Avenue:

1) Express the values, culture and history of this Ohio's steel city. 2) Create excitement and a "wow" factor to bring the community back downtown. 3) Provide a safe and family-friendly environment. 4) Focus on arts and entertainment.

To keep the cost of the project within the city's budget, the project plan recommends maintaining a large portion of the existing concrete sidewalk. Eighty-percent of the sidewalks are in fairly good shape.

"Our recommendation is for municipalities to spend available dollars on elements that liven the space, such as accent lighting, colorful signage and playful furniture," explains Enderle. "Repaving sidewalks can be expensive. As long as the sidewalks are safe, don't replace them. The city has a grittiness that is attractive. Keeping the older sections of sidewalks saves money and maintains that grittiness that is uniquely Lorain."



As seen in LASN magazine, August 2017.






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