Cromwell Park Racecourse zoning on Lorain Town Council’s agenda; birdwatchers voice concerns – Morning Journal

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Opponents continue to raise concerns about the loss of natural habitat if a proposed new kart racing complex is built at Lorain’s Cromwell Park.

At the same time, the town of Lorain published a survey asking residents what they think of the project.

On February 7, Lorain City Council will consider rezoning three parcels for McCrone Motorsports to create new go-kart tracks on approximately 200 acres at Riverbend Drive east of Root Road, and between Colorado Avenue and Black River .

He would sit behind the US Post Office and the Camaco Lorain factory.

The area takes its name from Cromwell Steel Co. and its founder, John C. Cromwell, who first purchased the land in 1916.

For years it served as a dump.

The Black River Audubon Society opposed a zoning change that would allow McCrone Motorsports to develop a new go-kart track on city-owned Cromwell Park land off Root Road and south of Colorado Avenue. (Richard Payerchin – The morning newspaper)
This Google map shows the Cromwell Park area on the east side of Lorain. Elyria-based McCrone Motorsports and city officials have confirmed plans to develop a go-kart track at the site. If all goes according to plan, races could start there by the end of summer 2022. (Google Maps)
On February 7, 2022, Lorain City Council could vote on a zoning change that would allow McCrone Motorsports to develop a new kart racing complex on more than 200 acres at Cromwell Park, land between Black River and Colorado Avenue on the east side of town. .

find the balance

At a public hearing on January 24, council members generally expressed support for the project.

Members of the Black River Audubon Society have repeatedly expressed concern that the project will destroy woods that are part of a locally and nationally recognized Important Bird Area, in addition to being home to other wildlife.

Since the hearing, a dozen ornithologists have sent letters asking Council to reconsider the location of the project.

Generally speaking, they say they have no objection to kart racing in Lorain, but ask if a different site would host the tracks, while keeping the birdwatching area intact.

Aerial photographs suggest that trees and vegetation, habitats for birds and other wildlife, have now reclaimed about 80% of the old landfill, said Rob Swindell, president of the Black River Audubon Society.

“The Council also talked about ‘balance’, a word that sounds fair and considerate, but carries little meaning,” Swindell said. “If the city tries to balance gray and green space, it fails miserably.

“The town of Lorain occupies an enviable location, largely bordering a Great Lake, from which flows with the possibility of a beautiful river. Yet beauty, creativity and potential are sacrificed by impatience. Development is necessary and welcome, but it need not necessarily come at the expense of other community values.

Green space available

The novel coronavirus pandemic has shown that outdoor places to walk, cycle and have passive recreation are ways for people to connect with nature and decompress from stress, said a letter from Western Cuyahoga Audubon, sent by Nancy Howell, Board Member.

With its harbor, Black River, French Creek Nature Center and nearby Cromwell Park, Lorain has a chance to create a “green ribbon” for trails and picnic areas, the letter says.

It could be similar to projects around Cleveland and the Cuyahoga River – “connecting people and nature, connecting communities with nature, and connecting communities, period!” the letter continues.

Safe green spaces help people thrive with less depression, anxiety and violence, said Dr. Patricia Kellner of South Euclid, family physician, president of the Kirtland Bird Club of northeast Ohio and member of the Cleveland Parks & Greenspace Coalition.

Other letters supporting maintaining green space for Cromwell Park came from people in Lorain, Elyria, Vermilion, Grafton and Cleveland.

The survey says

Supporters and opponents of the project can also express their opinions in a poll published on cityoflorain.org.

The survey asks: “Are you in favor or opposed to the construction of Cromwell Park Racecourse?

There are five response options: strongly agree, somewhat agree, neither agree nor oppose, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose.

Respondents can also answer, “What concerns, if any, do you have about this project?” with space to add their comments.

The council meeting is scheduled for 6:00 p.m., Feb. 7, at City Hall, 200 W. Erie Ave.

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