10.17.16 - After nearly 100 years in the county, United Way of Greater Lorain County is looking to make a permanent move to downtown Lorain with the purchase of its first property.
United Way is acquiring a 10,000 square foot property located at 642 Broadway Avenue in Lorain from the City of Lorain for $125,000. The move was approved by United Way’s board of directors on Sept. 28 and Lorain City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve the sale of the property.
“Investing in downtown Lorain allows United Way to be good stewards of the resources that have been entrusted to us by donors, helps in the revitalization of this downtown area, and places us in a location where there is a great need,” said Greg Kulow, United Way’s board president and the director of safety services and emergency management at University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center.
For over 30 years, United Way has leased a 3,400 square foot office located at 1875 North Ridge Road East in Lorain. United Way’s focus on community impact through direct services has created need for additional space. The current location lacks a conference room after it was converted into cubicles, there is no private office space for the Lorain County Free Tax Prep Coalition to meet with clients, and there is a lack of storage space needed for volunteer supplies.
Research showed that buying and renovating the 642 Broadway building could have an estimated savings of $2,369,950 over 30 years versus renting a similarly sized space over the same timeframe.
642 Broadway is the site of the old Tivoli Theater, which operated from 1920 to 1930 as the Pantheon Theater before its name change. The theater closed in 1977 and was vacant until 1987 when it was demolished. The current building was constructed on the site in 2000.
“The purchase of this building in downtown Lorain is the culmination of a year-long search by the United Way of Greater Lorain County and its Board of Directors,” said Kulow. “As the impact that we make in the community grows, so does the need for additional space to support our work.”
United Way of Greater Lorain County was recently named as the Ohio United Way of the Year and has been ranked as one of the top performing United Way agencies in the country. The local agency has ten full-time employees housed in its current Lorain office along with seasonal interns. The office also houses additional Lorain County Volunteer Connection staff through a partnership with HandsOn Northeast Ohio.
“We’re really excited about the property and think it gives us an opportunity to plant our roots and become a part of Downtown Lorain’s revitalization,” said United Way of Greater Lorain County executive director Bill Harper. “With that said, our focus on collective impact gives us a needed presence in more parts of the county than ever before and we remain committed to this approach.
“We appreciate the support and flexibility of our current landlord Billy Rowland as we realized we had reached our capacity at our current space. This move allows us to continue expanding our services while reinforcing our long-standing commitment to serving all of Greater Lorain County.”
United Way of Greater Lorain County has organized and supported the launch of ten Community Collaboratives over the past three years that each continue working to improve the health, education or financial stability of low-income working families living in different areas of the county.
The local United Way recently released its Annual Report from the July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016 fiscal year. The report is available at uwloraincounty.org and paper copies can be requested by calling 440-277-6530.